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'Only Natural' To Be Sexually Attracted To Yourself, Family: University Of Illinois Study

First Posted: 07/28/10 01:38 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 06:10 PM ET

Relative Attraction

Freud had it right all along. According to psychologist R. Chris Fraley of the University of Illinois, biological science supports one's attraction to relatives.

In a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Fraley found that humans are more likely to associate themselves with people who look like them.

Wired explains Fraley's methodology and results:

...people were shown a series of faces of strangers and asked to rank their sexual attractiveness. Before each of the faces were shown, half the subjects were subliminally exposed to photographs of their opposite-sex parent, by flashing the images so quickly that they couldn't be processed consciously. The other half of the participants was shown photos of unrelated parents.


People who were primed with images of their own mom or dad were more likely to find the faces in the subsequent photo attractive than did people primed with a random image.

While rare, some coupled relatives have come out of the woodwork in proof of this theory. In 2008, father and daughter John and Jenny Deaves were featured on 60 Minutes episode about genetic sexual attraction. Not only did the two admit to having an amorous relationship but also to conceiving children together. They live in South Australia.

What are your thoughts on this study? Would you admit to an attraction to a relative? Weigh in below.

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Filed by Ariel Doctoroff  |