The thing about the human face is that it’s unique. No two people look exactly alike. Even identical twins can look different based on their lifestyle choices.
The face is basically like clay. Your genetics decide the quality of the clay and your life is what molds it in a particular way.
This doesn’t apply just to your skin and muscles. Even your skeletal structure has a huge role to play in it.
So it must be really surprising that the number of lookalikes and doppelgangers we hear of or even come across in our lives is so few. In fact, you might even be tempted to believe that somewhere out there is your own doppelganger and fate will bring you together for a 21st century rendition of Judwa.
Which brings me to this bit of news. Dublin City University student Niamh Geaney has started a sociological experiment called Twin Strangers through which she along with of her two friends is trying to find people who look like them.
They received an overwhelming response from people who thought they looked like them. There were also many who asked them to find their own doppelgangers as well. Turns out that a lot of people are interested in finding their ‘twin strangers’.
But in spite of its overwhelming success, science tells us a slightly different story. Mathematically speaking, it might be nigh impossible for you to run into your doppelganger.
The number of different variables that make up your face are so numerous that the chance of someone else having those exact features is infinitesimal.
The fact is that there are too many things that affect our countenance. From your inherited genetics to the kind of life you live, everything makes a difference. Take smoking for instance.
I have a theory of my own, not backed by facts (YET), that the emotion a person experiences the most gradually begins to mold their face every time they express it. It’s why you might see someone who sleeps late with prominent dark circles or a chronic worrier with frown lines carved on their forehead.
Maybe our faces become ‘personalized’ overtime based on the kind of person we are.
To add another layer to this discussion, even the way we perceive faces varies from person to person. Some people notice the eyes first while others might notice the mouth or hair. It changes our perception of faces.
The condition known as prosopagnosia or ‘facial blindness’ strongly suggests that there is a scale of facial recognition in humans. We all perceive faces differently. Dr Dainele Podini of George Washington University says that the way we see faces is filtered by our own experiences.
Which is why a lot of people don’t see the resemblance while others are struck by it immediately. You might have already run across your doppelganger and passed them by without even batting an eye.
Nevertheless, it’s a fascination everyone shares. At least I do. So if you’re interested in finding your own doppelganger, here’s the link to their project. Give it a shot!