People really do have a 'type', study finds

Who you're attracted to is as much defined by your individual circumstances as your genes

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Indy Lifestyle Online

A new study has confirmed that sexual attraction is affected by life experience – and you may be attracted to people who look like the first person you ever went out with for years to come. 

35,000 volunteers took part in an online survey where they rated faces for attractiveness as part of a study run by psychologists at Wellesley College and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. 

Writing in the journal, Current Biology, the authors of the two-part study said that although they found factors such as face symmetry, which has traditional been thought to determine attraction, important, it only made up 50 per cent of the picture.

The other half is determined by our individual circumstances and experiences, suggesting that everyone really does have a "type" of person that they are attracted to. 

Laura Germine, a psychologist from Massachusetts General Hospital, told the Guardian: "If you think about your first romantic relationship, that person’s face, or someone who looks like them, might be attractive to you for years to come."    

"On the one hand, it’s common sense that our individual experiences will be important for who we find attractive, but on the other hand, we know that people’s ability to recognise faces is almost entirely down to differences in genes." 

For the second half of the study, researchers focused on studying the preferences of 547 pairs of identical twins and 214 same sex pairs of non-identical twins. 

If you think about your first romantic relationship, that person’s face, or someone who looks like them, might be attractive to you for years to come

Laura Germine, pyschologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston

Each pair of twins grew up in the same family, but identical twins have identical DNA, whereas fraternal twins share the same amount of DNA as ordinary brothers and sisters.

Assistant psychology professor at Wellesley, Jeremy Wilmer, told Time: "We found that even though identical twins share all of their genes and their family environment they were really, really different from each other in their facial aesthetic preferences." 

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