Are You My Dopplegänger?

Caroline Muñoz ‘18, Section Editor

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Francois Brunelle has been photographing look-alikes from around the world in a project called I’m not a look alike! This project involves more than 200 black and white photos (including the image above) where the “twins” wear plain clothing in order to look as similar to each as possible. These people have an uncanny physical likeness to each other, although they share no common DNA. Furthermore, these “twin strangers” do not act similar and have completely different personalities. Although previously thought that people may treat someone who looks a certain way the same, it was found to be incorrect (Major Personality Study Finds that Traits are Mostly Inherited,” Daniel Goleman). Thus,  have discovered that physical traits do not appear to influence by the way people are treated. In a similar study, researcher Nancy Segal, who directs the Twin Studies Center at California State Fullerton, learned that there are no special bonds because of the identical looks. The only entity similar with the “doppelgängers” are their physical traits.

So why are there dopplegängers? A dopplegänger, a person who looks like another person to the point that there is confusion, are actually more common than thought. Ever run into someone who looks exactly like your next door neighbor? There are a limited number of genes that influence facial features, and many scientists speculate that there are seven people other people in the world who look exactly like oneself. Julia Franke states in her column (“Unrelated Identical Twins? Science of Finding your Doppelgänger”) that, “specific genes control the differentiation of cells into the bones, skin, and muscle tissue of the face”. Because of this, there is a fairly decent chance that a person’s physical traits are someone else’s physical traits (“Does Everyone Have a Look- Alike?,” Adam Hadhazy).



In March 2014, three Irish students set out to find their doppelgängers through the power of social media. Only one of the students, Niamh found a clearly uncanny match in less than two weeks. When Niamh and Karen (her “twin stranger”) both put on similar clothes and combed their hair the same way, they had a striking resemblance to each other. Therefore in order to spread their passion for finding their dopplegängers, the Irish students set up a website to connect look-alikes with each other (“Unrelated Identical Twins? Science of Finding your Doppelgänger,” Julia Franke) . For only $3.95 per 6 months, their customers can search for people who look eerily like themselves. The process is quite simple – just put in your facial features (including lip and head shape), height, and other physical features. Then the site attempts to find one’s “twin stranger,” yet this could take several months due to the fact that one’s “twin” might have not registered on the site.  

Now, as one rushes through the halls of Aquinas, keep an eye out, for one might find one’s own doppelgänger rushing by.



Bridget Barclay ‘19 and Alicia Barber ‘18 look identical; Lily Lucero ‘18 and Sebastian Larson Saints ‘18 are often asked if they are fraternal twins | Caroline Muñoz ’18
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