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14 June 2007
Daddies' Girls Attracted To Men Who Resemble Their Fathers
by George Atkinson

Women who had good relationships with their fathers during childhood are more likely to choose partners who resemble their dads, say psychologists from Durham University, in the UK. Their study, published in Evolution and Human Behavior, investigated women's sexual preference using facial measurements to give a clear view of how the fathers' facial features relate directly to the features of faces their daughters find attractive.

The women in the study were required to choose the most attractive from 15 distinct faces, whose ears, hair, neck, shoulders and clothing were not visible, removing any external influences which could potentially skew results. The male stimuli's facial measurements were taken and compared with each daughter's father's measurements, so that the researchers knew which faces correlated most closely with the fathers' faces. The daughters were also asked to rate their paternal relationships looking at areas such as how much a father engaged in bringing up his daughter, how much leisure time he spent with her and how much emotional investment she received from him.

The researchers found that the women who reported positive relationships with their fathers showed a significant preference for the men that resembled their father. The finding adds to growing theories that suggest sexual imprinting is an active process which involves the relationship between the child and the adult upon whom they imprint. This reveals the importance of parental relationships in partner selection, possibly providing new insights in areas such as relationship counseling.

"These results show that the quality of a daughter's relationship with her father has an impact on whom she finds attractive. It shows our human brains don't simply build prototypes of the ideal face based on those we see around us, rather they build them based on those to whom we have a strongly positive relationship," noted study author Lynda Boothroyd.

Related articles:
Sexual Desire Influenced By Genetic Makeup
Brain Assesses Beauty In A Hundredth Of A Second

Source: Durham University

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