Story Behind Why These Complete Strangers Look Nearly Identical To One Another


Have you ever been told you had a doppelgänger? Have your friends ever said they just saw or met someone who could have been your identical twin? Such odd encounters with look-alikes may happen more often than we once believed! So why do these complete strangers look nearly identical to one another? Read on to learn the story behind this baffling question.

When Roniel Tessler and Garrett Levenbrook ran into each other, they were amazed. Seeing each other was just like looking into a mirror. But they had never met before. The strangers met at the University of Michigan. Garret was a student there, and Roniel was visiting with his a cappella group from another college. When they saw each other, they were blown away by the resemblance.

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They arranged to meet later at a pizza place in New York City. "I found it difficult at first to look at Roniel because I felt I was looking into a mirror," Garret said. The ordered the same pizza toppings and got to know each other. Aside from looking alike, the two learned there were personality differences. Garret is organized. His counterpart, Roniel, is more free-spirited.

They couldn't figure out why they looked so much alike. And friends recommended they check out the website of a man who documented cases of these stranger twins. The website belongs to a Canadian man named Francois Brunelle.

Francois Brunelle Study On Doppelgängers

Francois Brunelle spent 12 years tracking down real-life doppelgänger. He was intrigued by the idea of identical strangers. So he sought to photograph 200 of these unrelated twins.

Francois wasn't the only one fascinated by these unusual pairs. Psychologist Nancy L. Bengal specializes in studying twins. One key question in her research is whether twins have similar personalities as a result of their environment or people treating them the same. But could their personalities be the same for a genetic reason? In her effort to research this, she paired up with Francois Brunelle!

Nancy works in Fullerton, California, at the Twin Studies Center at California State University. One of her graduate students referred her to Francois' website. She discovered he took pictures of people who were unrelated but looked so similar, they could have been twins. The look-alikes were perfect for Nancy to study personality traits and pick out similarities and differences between the individuals.

Nancy moved forward in her study by having Francois send a questionnaire to 23 of his identical stranger pairs. The questionnaire measured five personality traits including extraversion, openness, agreeableness, stability, and conscientiousness. After collecting the data, Nancy found that the look-alikes were simply that. They did not match in personality. On the contrary, since twins do often share similar personalities she concluded that the reason twins act so similarly is because of genetics, not external factors. She published her study in the journal titled Personality and Individual Differences.

Doppelgänger Or Identical Strangers Help Twin Study

She even repeated the study with Ulrich Ettinger, a fellow psychologist from the University of Bonn in Germany. The duo came to the same conclusion as Nancy's first study.

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If you ever run into your look-alike, at least you will know they can't replace you. They may have your looks, but not the personality. That's what makes you unique! But how cool is it that God puts these little mysteries in our lives for us to ponder!

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h/t: New York Times

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