Surprise! Why Opposites DON'T Attract

When it comes to choosing our friends, we tend to select people who not only share our interests, but also our facial features. Faces that look familiar to us--in other words, they are very much like our own--are a guiding force when most of us choose friends of the same gender, according to new research from McMaster University in Canada, reports the BBC News Online.

In this study, male and female volunteers viewed faces that had been computer-manipulated to produce a family resemblance. The men preferred men's faces that resembled their own, and women liked other women's faces that looked like theirs. DeBruine noted that previous research has shown that people are more likely to trust others who look like them.

Why? It's evolution at work. According to lead study author and psychologist Dr. Lisa DeBruine, we humans seem to have evolved so we prefer the company of people who remind us of our family. We may have greater trust and affection for people who look like we do because the chances are higher we share similar genes. By forging a bond of friendship, it could help these people to thrive; in evolutionary terms, that means they have a greater chance to live healthier and longer lives and be able to pass their genes down to the next generation, notes the BBC News Online.

But nature is smart when it comes to romantic love. We almost always prefer someone whose facial features are very different from our own when we choose a lover of the opposite sex, which may be a biological block to prevent incest. The study findings were published in Britain's Journal of the Royal Society.