A Good Question
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July 07, 2010, 03:35 PM
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A reader asks:
Do you know of any studies investigating whether there is a correlation between a child`s physical resemblance of one parent and that child`s similarity in personality to that same parent? e.g. Al looks much more like Dad and has his laid back personality, while Al`s brother Bob looks much more like Mom and has her lively personality.

Assuming that Bob really is Dad`s son, of course ...

I don`t know, but this is a good question because it could help get at an idea that has been lingering for a long time — are differences in looks associated with differences in behavior? If so, why?

Greg Cochran has a strong aversion to Darwin`s theory of sexual selection (not because it`s never true — it is in some cases — but because it gives too easy an out for explaining physical differences: "Somebody must have thought it looked purty.") He suspects, for example, that fair hair and fair skin were less selected for in themselves than that they were by-products of something else that was being selected for in Europe.

Looking at siblings who look different, especially fraternal twins, might provide some evidence on this subject.