I recently read online that people are attracted to people who resemble their parents. Now I don’t know how much truth there is in these findings, but you can look here and here if you want to read about them. Instead of disagreeing with the findings, I came up with reasons why this could be the case.
I’ll be looking at heterosexuals and be giving ‘my’ reasons for this happening. Firstly, it makes survival sense. Your parents raised you, they succeeded. If this new person resembles your dad (if you’re a girl) or your mom (if you’re a boy), it means that there is a good chance that they will also be a worthwhile investment. Not only did your parents bring you into this world but they also raised you to this crucial age.
In Geoffrey Miller’s book The Mating Mind, Miller talks about how the face advertises genetic health. The face has so many components that could go wrong during the development of the fetus. In humans, it’s the face along with the brain which acts as the role of fitness indicator. So it makes genetic sense to be attracted to someone who resembles your parents. In an imperfect world, with little perfect information, a fitness indicator like that can mean the difference between survival and death.
Parents are also responsible for choosing their children’s sexual partners. Girls are more prone to show this influence. For boys similar traits are hard to see as they rarely prefer to have one partner. Girls who were raised by an older father will be attracted to older men. Probably the same holds true for boys as well. But again, to what degree?
Bottom line is that if your parents raised you, it makes sense that people sharing their traits (facial features in our example) will also be more likely to raise your children. If facial features and education didn’t matter, we would not be choosing our partners on the basis of them. Nor would the sperm donor agencies be keeping a record of these things.
Another reason to prefer partners who look like your parents could be social rather than biological. At the end of the day, human beings are social animals who live in groups rather than solitude. Therefore, you are likely to get along with a person who resembles your parents. It equals more chances of harmony which results in a healthier environment to raise children. Time and energy are two resources that we are all running short on. So it makes sense that these be used on something other than arguing and fighting.
Finally the last reason which actually echoes the first one, if not totally borrows from it is that you made it. If genes make up the human body, then being attracted to someone who looks like your parents makes sense. Your parents’ genes are in you. Similar genes are in the person you’re attracted to. These genes have shown their worth. These genes both have produced offspring that survived to sexual maturity. Instead of experimenting, why not go for something that has worked?