PsyBlog has picked up on a neat study from way back in ’87 that found that couples faces look more alike the longer they stay together, and the researchers suggest that empathy might play a part.
The study asked a group of participants to judge how similar pairs of photographs were. Some of the photos were taken after 25 years of marriage, some on the wedding day.
Couples were more likely to be judged as looking similar at the 25 year mark than when first married.
Couples were then asked to complete a questionnaire about how satisfied they were with their partnership. The study found that the couples who grew more alike were more likely to report being happy, share worries or concerns with each other, and perceive themselves to have similar attitudes.
The researchers suggest that empathy might play a part in the increased facial similarity.
Interestingly, now we know that more empathetic people tend to mimic other people’s facial emotional expressions more readily.
So after 25 years, the effect of more frequently copying another person’s face, might mean it would it would take on similar features.
There’s other explanations and some caveats, of course, and PsyBlog considers some of them as it looks at the study in more detail.
Link to PsyBlog on ‘Empathy Causes Facial Similarity Between Couples to Increase Over Time’.