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September 5, 2014

People who look like twins but aren't

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David Levine in an August 25 New York Times story asked an interesting question: "When twins have similar personalities, is it mainly because they share so much genetic material or because their physical resemblance makes other people treat them alike?"

Excerpts from the article follow.

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Most researchers believe the former, but the proposition has been hard to prove. So Nancy L. Segal, a psychologist who directs the Twin Studies Center at California State University, Fullerton, decided to test it — and enlisted an unlikely ally.

He is François Brunelle, a photographer in Montreal who takes pictures of pairs of people who look alike but are not twins.

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Dr. Segal was sent to Mr. Brunelle’s website by a graduate student who knew of her research with twins. When she saw the photographs, she realized that the unrelated look-alikes would be ideal study subjects: She could compare their similarities and differences to those of actual twins.

"I reasoned that if personality resides in the face," she said, "then unrelated look-alikes should be as similar in behavior as identical twins reared apart. Alternatively, if personality traits are influenced by genetic factors, then unrelated look-alikes should show negligible personality similarity."

As she expected, the unrelated look-alikes showed little similarity in either personality or self-esteem. By contrast, twins — especially identical twins — score similarly on both scales, suggesting that the likeness is largely because of genetics. Her results were published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

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For a second study, she teamed with a skeptic, Ulrich Ettinger, a psychologist at the University of Bonn in Germany who had heard about the look-alike project during a postdoctorate at the University of Montreal.

"I thought that if two people looked alike, they would have similar personality traits because people would treat them the same," he said. "For example, I thought men who looked alike and were tall and handsome would probably be extroverts."

Their analysis was consistent with the findings of Dr. Segal's first study: Personality traits do not appear to be influenced by the way people are treated because of appearance. Moreover, they found, there appears to be no special bond between look-alikes.

September 5, 2014 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

3D Printed Little Sad Keanu

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"You all know the infamous image of Keanu sitting alone eating his lunch [below],

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well now you can own a tiny version of him to sit on the top of your computer or the edge of your desk."

$25.

[via CSYCB]

September 5, 2014 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Leap Motion Intro to VR

[via Bruce Sterling]

September 5, 2014 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

ButterUp Knife

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"Use butter straight from the fridge! The ButterUp knife softens butter with its built-in grater to aerate and soften butter, making it easier to spread."

Dishwasher-safe stainless steel.

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$12 AUD.

[via CSYCB]

September 5, 2014 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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