• Dr. Peleg Irit

Our face as the key to LOVE

One of the issues that concern the human race is how to choose a partner, and what is the right choice?

Matching with partners has a very important part to play in evolution. Matching, which was explained by the evolutionary theory of assortative mating (Darwin 1859), is a principle which states that the most suitable pair will be fertile, and their offspring will survive in the existing environment. According to evolution, assortative mating acts on the individual features that affect the chances of finding mates for breeding (Andersson, M. 1994). Just as attraction serves assortative mating, rejection serves for self-defense and avoidance of pollution and damage. (Tybur, 2009).

Physical appearance is critical in choosing a mate (Thornhill R. 1999). Each individual has a unique facial structure. There is evidence to humans’ ability to recognize faces (Kanwisher N. 1997) and the ability to extract information from the face is important for social interactions and allows communication and transferring non-verbal information. (Pascalis O, 2009). This uniqueness allows personal identification which is important for social interactions (Michael J Sheehan, 2014). Faces allow us to recognize a person, their mood, their gender, and their age (Moalem, S. 2014). Faces unveil the developmental and genetic history of an individual and reveal familial kinship, health, parental matching, and more (Moalem S. 2014). As such, men and woman both put a lot effort into their appearance. (Buss D. M. 1986).

Physical appearance reflects biology and as such reveals health, behavioral and personal traits that are reflected in the face, and serves as a measure for the sense of interaction with the opposite gender (Langlois J. H. 2000) (Shackelford 1997). Each person has their own DNA, which determines and influences their uniqueness and their unique facial structure (Peter Claes, 2014) (Liu F 2012). Facial attractiveness is coded deeply in the individual’s biology (Chatterjee A ‘T’ 2009).

A sense of attraction towards the other sex stems from the interaction between the brain and the face, and the way in which they are grasped by the brain of the individual, (Johnston 2008), therefore judging an attractive appearance is individual. (Honekopp 2006).

There are significant differences between the needs of men and women when finding a mate (Barber N 1995). Women compete with one another for high-quality mates by showcasing fertility and femininity, and men will emphasize their masculinity through the power and dominance that is expressed through physical appearance. Visual cues indicate the hormonal status and phenotypic quality, which indicates genetic and hormonal quality, health and more. (Barber N 1995). Attractiveness is a subjective perception of facial appearance. Different people have different preferences. (Jefferson 2004).

Due to the fact that the face reflects biological systems and quality, it serves as an objective measure for selecting a mate according to the evolutionary theory of fertility and survival.

In order for there to be an optimal biological match between partners, the match must be multi-directional, so that the man matches the woman and the woman matches the man. Since the health of the offspring is dependent on the pair’s matching. As such it is recommended to genetically test partners before birth. Certain genetic pairings may cause the birth of an offspring with defects. (L Black and M Bittles 2010). Another thing that necessitates a multi-directional match is the fact that the attractiveness of women is unlike the attractiveness of men. Men and women look for different things in a partner. (Buss 1989) (Barber N 1995). This divergence creates a large complexity in finding the optimal match.

Assortative mating according to the evolutionary theory applies to all humans and is not dependent on culture, education, religion, race and language. (Buss 1989).

The feeling of love, according to evolution, exists to urge man to want to be close to their mate for the purpose of breeding and survival, according to Lampert, “sexual love is an evolutionary tool that leads our choice of partners.” (Lampert 2011).

The evolutionary matching of partners is necessary for breeding and survival of offspring.

Our faces are who we are, they are our biological representation, and they are our gate to love and to finding the right partner.


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