An anonymous reader writes: In a series of experiments where subjects viewed photographs of their opposite-sex parent or a photo morphed with their own face, researchers found that people are turned on by photographs of people who resemble their close genetic counterparts.
“People appear to be drawn to others who resemble their kin or themselves,” said psychologist R. Chris Fraley of the University of Illinois, lead author of the study published July 20 in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. “It is possible, therefore, as Freud suggested, that incest taboos exist to counter this primitive tendency.”
n the first experiment, people were shown a series of faces of strangers and asked to rank their sexual attractiveness. Before each of the faces were shown, half the subjects were subliminally exposed to photographs of their opposite-sex parent, by flashing the images so quickly that they couldn’t be processed consciously. The other half of the participants was shown photos of unrelated parents.
People who were primed with images of their own mom or dad were more likely to find the faces in the subsequent photo attractive than did people primed with a random image.
In the second experiment, participants were asked to rank the sexual attractiveness of another set of faces, but this time the faces were morphed to be composites of two different faces. Unaware that their own faces were part of the morph, half of the subjects were shown faces that were up to 45 percent their own, like an artificial sibling. The other half were shown morphs of faces that were not their own.
The people who saw faces morphed with their own found the images more sexually appealing.