Researchers distort the question of whether couples are starting to look the same | Science

The question has plagued psychologists for years: Are the faces of those in long-term relationships starting to look the same?

Notes They do Appeared in the 1980s and later turned it into psychology courses. Nevertheless, in the following decades, the observation was never scientifically confirmed or refuted.

Now researchers at Stanford University in the United States are throwing modern technology into trouble. After examining thousands of public photos of the couple, they hope they can finally resolve the matter.

“This is something people believe, and we were curious about it,” said Dee-McCorn, a PhD student at Stanford. “Our initial thought was that if people’s faces come together over time, we can see what kind of features they combine.”

He has worked with his Stanford counterpart, Michael Kozinsky, and Dee-McCorn on Google, newspaper annual announcements and heritage websites, for photos of couples taken at the beginning of weddings and many years later. From these they compiled a database of images from 517 pairs, which were taken within two years of tying the knot and 20 to 69 years later.

To test whether the couple’s faces grew identical over time, the researchers showed volunteers a photo of a “target” person with six other faces, one their spouse, and the other five faces randomly selected. Volunteers were asked how each of the six faces resembled the target individual. The same task was then done by sophisticated facial recognition software.

In an original study in 1987, the late psychologist Robert Jajong of the University of Michigan ranked only a dozen photos of volunteers. He concluded that their face became identical as the couple’s marriages continued, and as a result they were happy.

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What psychologists have argued is that sharing life shapes people’s faces, food, lifestyle, time outside, and laughter lines all play a role to play.

However, writing Scientific reports, Tea-Macorn and Kozinsky describe that the couple found no evidence that they were identical over time. However, they looked more identical than the random couple at the beginning of the relationship.

Discoveries The famous couple Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter, and Kissel Pontsen and Tom Brady did not look the same over time, but went for partners with similar features to themselves. The tea maker said that just like looking for mates with matching values ​​and personalities, people can look for mates with similar looks.

Kisel Bundsen and her husband Tom Brady last year.
Kisel Bundsen and her husband Tom Brady last year. Photo: Sean Sunny / Patrick Macmullan via Getty Images

This study highlights the importance of going back through past studies and verifying their validity. “This is definitely something the field needs to update,” Kozinski said. “A major problem in the social sciences is the pressure to bring novels, surprising, and news theories. This is how you publish, hire, and receive tenure. As a result, the field is filled with ideas and theories that have been overstated, exaggerated, or not properly verified. ”

Kozinski praised the fact that many scientists are reluctant to “get on the boat” and point out the shortcomings in the work of other researchers. “Cleaning the field may be the most important challenge facing social scientists today, but if he certainly comes up with something new and a little brighter he is not going to get as many quotes or more recognition for his work,” he said.

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One of the researchers’ next projects is to explore claims that people’s names can only be predicted from their faces with any accuracy. “We have our doubts,” Kozinski said.

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Will Smith

About the Author: Will Smith

Alfred Lee covers public and private tech markets from New York. He was previously a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economics and Business Journalism at Columbia University, and prior to that was a reporter at the Los Angeles Business Journal. He has received a Journalist of the Year award from the L.A. Press Club and an investigative reporting award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

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