Do You Resemble Your Dog? Pet and Owner Look-Alikes

Do You Resemble Your Dog? Pet and Owner Look-Alikes


Schertz_iStock_000016880420_LargeAt some point, you may have thought a neighbor or coworker bore a striking resemblance to his (or her) Bulldog. While animal and human similarities can be entertaining to think about, it isn’t all just fun and games, though. In fact there may be some science behind pet and owner look-alikes.

Not Just Chance

It may seem far-fetched that pet and owner look-alikes are more than a coincidence. Research has shown, however, that isn’t sheer luck that you and your Golden Retriever share the same long blonde locks.

A study conducted in 2009 by Japanese psychologist Sadahiko Nakajima showed that people were often able to match dogs and owners simply by viewing pictures of their faces. People were consistently able to pair up pooches and people at a much higher rate than just chance would allow.

Nakajima recently published another study in an attempt to determine what about a pet may reel us in. He found that features in the eye region of both the pet and person were the strongest indicator of a match.

The Science Behind Pet and Owner Look-Alikes

So people look more like their pets than if it were just left up to chance. Why is this such a common phenomenon though?

The answer likely lies in human psychology. People tend to be feel drawn to things that are familiar. Psychologists refer to this as “the mere exposure effect”. This principle of familiarity explains why you might be drawn to re-read a book over and over again or see yet another movie version of Romeo and Juliet in the theater. People feel most comfortable with things that are familiar to them.

So how does this translate to pets looking like their owners? Simply put, people are more often enamored with animals whose faces resemble their own. We see our faces every day, multiple times a day. Consciously or not, we are rather fond of our own face.

Although no formal studies have been conducted proving this to be the cause of pet and owner look-alikes, it seems logical that our own psychology is at play here. While we may admire our pets, the reason that they so often resemble us is more likely due to our deep admiration of ourselves.

It certainly can be fun to compare pets and their owners. The resemblance is often uncanny.

Do you or someone you know have an impressive furry likeness? Share a picture with us and let us be the judge!

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