London: Relationship status can affect who and what we find attractive. A new study has found that if we are in a relationship, we are more likely to be attracted to faces resembling our own, but for single people opposites attract.
“For the first time, we have observed how our partnership status affects who we find attractive,” Jitka Lindova from Charles University in the Czech Republic.
The team showed a series of photographs of faces to university students and asked them to rate their attractiveness.
The photographs were digitally manipulated so that the resemblance to the student was modified.
Images were of an individual of the opposite sex, whose face had been manipulated to look either more or less similar to the student.
They were also presented with images of a same-sex individual manipulated in the same way.
“We found that single participants, those not in relationships, rate dissimilar faces as more attractive and sexy than self-resembling faces,” Lindova said.
This was observed when participants rated both same-sex and opposite-sex faces.
“Our interpretation is that attractiveness perception mechanisms that give us a preference for a genetically suitable partner may be suppressed during romantic relationships,” she explained.
The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.
“This might be a relationship maintenance strategy to prevent us from finding alternatives to our own partner, or perhaps self-resemblance becomes more important in terms of the social support we expect receive from relatives, which are known as kinship cues,” Lindova explained.