Daddies’ girls prefer men who look like their dads
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Daddies’ girls prefer men who look like their dads

Girls who enjoy a close relationship with their fathers prefer men who look like them, a new study has claimed.

sex and relationships Updated: Aug 22, 2013 12:19 IST

Most women who have enjoyed a close relationship with their fathers during their childhood not only want the partner they choose to have all the qualities their dad has, but they tend to choose men who also look like their dad, a new research has found.

The study was conducted by a team of psychologists from Durham University and two Polish institutions who also found that women who have not enjoyed a close relationship with their dads during childhood, tend to pick partners who look very different from their fathers.

In their study, the researchers set out to investigate how true the sexual preference for individuals possessing parental characteristics holds for women.

The study also helps shed further light on how we choose partners and the impact of a parent’s role in this process.

It reveals the importance of parental relationships in partner selection, which could move studies in areas like evolutionary biology, fertility and genetics a step forward and offer new insights in areas such as relationship counselling and psychology.

49 Polish eldest daughters participated in the study in which the researchers used facial measurements to give a clear view of how fathers’ facial features relate directly to the features of faces their daughters find attractive.

Each women was asked to choose the most attractive face from 15 distinct male 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 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.

These scores then made up an overall ‘positivity’ score. As a group as a whole there was no correlation between fathers’ and male stumuli’s faces, however, when the daughters were split into two groups based on positivity, those in the higher positivity group showed significant positive correlations between fathers’ and the male stimuli’s faces that they found most attractive.

Author Dr Lynda Boothroyd of Durham University explains said that the study showed that daddies’ girls not only chose men who share the same merits as their fathers, but who look like them too.

“While previous research has suggested this to be the case, these controlled results show for certain that the quality of a daughter’s relationship with her father has an impact on whom she finds attractive,” she said.

“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. We can now say that daughters who have very positive childhood relationships with their fathers choose men with similar central facial characteristics to their fathers,” she added.

The study will be published in the July issue of Evolution and Human Behaviour.

First Published: Jun 13, 2007 13:10 IST