This question has plagued psychologists for years – do couples in a long-term relationship slowly become alike?
Early theories emerged as early as the 1980s and became part of psychology courses, although even decades later this view has not been confirmed or refuted by scientific research.
This time, Stanford University professors introduced modern technology. After researchers analyzed public photos of thousands of couples, they said they understood the essence of the phenomenon.
“People believe this theory, and we were interested,” said Pin Pin T.-Macron, a professor at Stanford University.
T-Macron worked with his Stanford counterpart, Michael Kosinski, to search for photos of couples from Google, newspaper archives and genealogy websites, some of which were taken at the beginning of the marriage and the other part years later. They thus obtained photos from 517 pairs of databases, most of which were taken between 20 and 69 years of age.
To determine if the couple’s faces looked like over time, the researchers showed volunteers a photo of a “test” person with pictures of six other people, one of whom was a test partner and the others randomly selected faces. The volunteers were then asked to sort the six faces according to which one looked more like the test person. Later, the same task was performed by the latest facial recognition software.
A similar study was conducted in 1987 by Robert Zayenz, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, who used only a few dozen photos of couples for the experiment. Zayenz concluded that the faces of the couples resembled each other after marriage, and this event was all the more eye-catching as the partners felt happier while living together.
Psychologists explain this phenomenon by saying that the same lifestyle, time spent in similar activities and simultaneous laughter (which causes the so-called laughter wrinkles in the eyes), reflected on the couple’s appearance.
However, according to a study published in Scientific Reports by T. Macorney and Kosinski, they found no evidence that couples are more alike over time, although at the beginning of the relationship they are more alike than pairs of randomly selected people.
The results of the study indicate that couples of celebrities such as Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter or Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady will not look even more alike over time, although their partner is likely to be chosen based on how much in common they have in common. T. Macron says people may be looking for partners with a similar look to their appearance, just as they try to connect life with a person with identical values and personality.