The Look-Alikes Bias

The tendency for people to cozy up to people who look like themselves and pick on those who don't.

We migrate toward people who remind us of ourselves. We perch with look-alikes because we feel comfortable and validated when other folks share our physical appearance—nose shape, coloring, height, taste in clothes—as well as our opinions. Have you ever noticed that most couples look like brother and sister?  Few people have made this observation yet it's so in-our-faces.

"From the little we do know, we can say that good people (we, us) are capable of incredible harm to others and even themselves. That daily moral decisions we make are not based on the principles of justice that we think they are, but are often a result of the familiarity and similarity of the other to oneself. These two simple types of bias happen because the mind and its workings remain invisible to us and until we unmask it meanderings, the disparity between what we do and what we think we do will remain murky," says MAHZARIN R. BANAJI, Professor of Social Ethics, Department of Psychology, Harvard University