Do You Look Like Your Mate?

While opposites do attract, many couples end up looking quite alike, and there are actually a number of scientific theories about this. From sharing the same ancestry to sharing the same experiences, here are a few reasons as to why you may look like your mate.

Happy couple

Shared Ancestry
While this may sound far-fetched, many couples actually share the same ancestry, meaning that they were related long before they got married. A study that was recently published in the journal PLOS Genetics discovered that, out of a group of 879 spouses, couples had a tendency to marry people who shared their genes. The study looked at couples across three generations, and found that, in later generations, this became less common, and people would cast their nets a bit wider when it came to looking for love.

Shared Experiences
The idea that many couples looked alike is nothing new, and a study carried out at the University of Michigan in 1987 has been one of the most successful ones to date on this topic. Researchers found that couples who had shared a long life together also shared similar experiences, which left them with similar expression lines on their face. Whether this may have been a life of hardship resulting in deepened frown lines, or a life of smiles and crow’s feet, this is quite a promising theory as to why many couples look alike, especially if they have spent a significant number of years together.

Unconscious Mimicry
Unconscious mimicry is when a person unconsciously imitates the people around them. For example, adopting intonations from your friend’s voices, or copying the way in which a friend sits. This principle could also be potentially applied to couples that look alike, because as they will have mimicked each other so much over the years, this would end up gradually reshaping their face.

Happy couple

Other Theories
There is no denying that many couples tend to look alike, and while the above-mentioned theories may be some of the most popular, there are a few other ideas about this as well. One of these theories is that the increased resemblance is linked to living in the same environment, while others believe that a similar diet could have something to do with this.

Only Skin Deep
While the facial features of long-time spouses may start to appear similar, a study carried out in 2010 showed that this was only skin deep. The results of this study proved that people who had been married for 40 years or more had personalities that were just as different as they used to be, even if they had been sharing everything from a home to habits.

It has been known for a while that many spouses share similar features in appearance, but it would seem as though scientists are still a long way from pin-pointing exactly why this is. While each of the theories mentioned above do seem plausible, it is just as likely that it is a combination of all of them, from a shared environment to shared habits, and even to shared DNA.

Extend Your Life by Reading Books

Woman reading on bed

Reading brings about many different benefits, from de-stressing the mind to improving language skills, but there is one extremely advantageous benefit that many are not aware of. A recent study carried out by the Yale University’s School of Public Health showed that people who regularly read books, rather than magazines or newspapers, add an extra two years onto their lifespan when compared to those who do not read, giving you the perfect excuse to begin spending your evenings curled up with a good book.

Results of the Study
The study carried out by Yale University lasted for 12 years, and focussed on three subject groups; those who did not read at all, those who read for around three and a half hours per week, and those who read for more. Even in the second group of subjects, there was still a 17% chance of an increased lifespan, showing the incredible benefits that reading can bring.

How Does Reading Books Extend Lifespan?
Unlike magazines or newspapers, reading books encourages two cognitive processes that are extremely beneficial. The first is referred to as “deep reading”, which is an immersive process that enables the reader to form a connection to the world around them. The second cognitive process is the way in which books are able to promote everything from empathy to emotional intelligence, all of which heighten the body’s chance for survival. The way in which books feature complex, interwoven stories cannot compete with the short snippets of information provided by newspapers and magazines, and this recent study has more than proven the varying effects that different types of reading material can have.

Reading book

How Long Should You Read For Each Day?
Yale University’s study showed that the longer that a participant read for each day, the longer they would live for. While you may not have time to read for hours each day, even 30 minutes a day can still be hugely beneficial in terms of extending lifespan. One of the advantages to reading is that it can be done just about anywhere, so even if you do not have time at the end of your day, try bringing a book along on your commute to work, or setting aside some time on your lunch break.

What Types of Books are Best?
While the study did not look into the exact genres of books that were read by participants, other studies have discovered that around 87% of book readers choose to read fiction, meaning that fiction was most likely to be the primary type of book read during the study. However, this does not instantly mean that other types of books are not beneficial, although more studies will need to be carried out in order to confirm this.

In addition to extending your lifespan, reading also brings about so many other health benefits. From improving memory to expanding knowledge to boosting analytical thinking skills, making the effort to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of book reading a day will have some hugely positive effects on your life.