Why are we so fascinated by doppelgangers? | The Stream

TV shows, social media, and newspapers often feature people who meet their doppelganger – an unrelated person bearing a striking physical resemblance.

Our enduring fascination with doppelgangers – a German word that translates as ‘double walker’ – is such that apps claiming to match users with their lookalike via the internet are widely popular. And Canadian artist Francois Brunelle has over the years brought together about 200 pairs of doppelgangers for a photography project that has enthralled the public.

While some observers are spooked by the sight of doppelgangers – rooted in ‘bad omens’ within folklore – some lookalikes photographed by Brunelle have forged lasting bonds with one another.

Scientists are just as intrigued. A team of research scientists at the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute in Barcelona has sought to explain why some unrelated people look so strikingly alike, investigating genetic links between pairs Brunelle photographed.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll look at the personal, scientific, and cultural aspects of the doppelganger phenomenon.

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