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Daddy's girls pick boys who look just like their fathers

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    Daddy s girls pick boys who look just like their fathers 5:00AM Thursday June 14, 2007 By Steve Connor  Nigella Lawson A woman who enjoyed a good childhood
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 13, 2007

      Daddy's girls pick boys who look just like their fathers

      5:00AM Thursday June 14, 2007
      By Steve Connor 

      Nigella Lawson

      A woman who enjoyed a good childhood relationship with her father is more likely than other women to select a male partner who resembles her dad, a study has found.

      The findings could explain why famous "daddy's girls" such as Nigella Lawson and Zoe Ball have chosen husbands who look remarkably similar to their own fathers, scientists said.

      The study supports the evolutionary idea that sexual imprinting - when sexual preferences are based on parental characteristics - occurs in humans just as it is known to occur in many species of animals.

      Researchers interviewed 49 eldest daughters who were asked to choose the most attractive face from a set of 15 photographs of men who ears, hair, neck, shoulders and clothing were deliberately obscured to ensure they chose purely on the basis of "central" facial characteristics such as eyes, nose, mouth and chin.

      The women were also asked a series of questions designed to assess how well they got on with their own fathers during the critical years of childhood when sexual imprinting could have developed.

      The women were asked to assess how much a father engaged in bringing her up, how much leisure time they spent together and how much overall emotional investment she felt her father had made in her.

      Scientists analysed the faces from the panel of 15 photographs and compared them to the facial measurements taken of each woman's own father so that the researchers could assess which face correlated most closely with each of the 49 fathers.

      The results of the study, published in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour, clearly showed that a woman who had a good childhood relationship with her father found men with similar facial characteristics the most sexually attractive.

      However, this did not appear to be the case with women whose answers suggested that they did not enjoy a close relationship with their fathers, according to Lynda Boothroyd of Durham University, the study's author.

      "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," Dr Boothroyd said.

      "It shows that 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," she said.

      "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."

      The scientists who took part in the study claim that the findings can explain why for instance Charles Saatchi, who is married to Nigella Lawson, has a passing resemblance to Nigel Lawson and why Norman Cook (Fat Boy Slim), the husband of Zoe Ball, looks similar to Johnny Ball in the central area of the face, notably the nose, chin and eyes.

      The researchers said that the study disproves the idea that a woman's choice of partner is always purely passive. It must involve an active choice based on childhood experiences they said - a finding that could have repercussions in the study of human evolution, fertility and genetics.

      The research, carried out on Polish women, was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Royal Society.

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