Courses for Kids
Free study material
Offline Centres
Store Icon

Do Doppelgangers Exist?

By Puja RoyNovember 20, 2022
share icon

How Many Lookalikes Do We Have?

Have you ever seen those articles about celebrities and their lookalikes around the world? Looking at those pictures, have you ever wondered ‘are there people that look like me’? Maybe one day, walking down the street you might have done a double-take because you thought that someone very similar to you just walked past. Or you might have just walked up to them, tapped them on their shoulder and then realized that it was just in your mind. It must have been pretty embarrassing. Well, there is no shame in admitting that you have searched for someone that looks like you. After all, there are other people that share similar features with you.

Two Identical Looking Girls

Two Identical Looking Girls

Did you know that there is a word for someone who looks just like you? Do you know what it is? No, we aren’t talking about identical twins. These people aren’t even related to you and they have almost the same facial characteristics as well. The word you are looking for is Doppelganger. In this article, we are going to learn whether these doppelgangers exist or not.


What is a Doppelgänger? Do Doppelgangers Exist? 

The term doppelganger is actually derived from the German word which can be translated into ‘double-goer’. It basically is in reference to someone who is a ghost of that particular person. You might be a bit surprised to know that according to German Mythology, doppelgangers were believed to be paranormal. It was believed that if you saw your own doppelganger or your same face person in the world, you would have incredibly bad luck.

However, mythology is not something that one can rely on. Plus, there are some modern-day definitions and meanings for the word doppelganger. According to the modern world, a doppelganger is someone who has the same facial features that you have. And that too without being related to you genetically. This is what makes this person different from your identical twin. While an identical twin would have the same facial features, you will also share the same genes. In the case of a doppelganger, there is no genetic connection.

Almost every single person in the world believes that they have many doppelgangers around the world. This particular notion has led to the creation of different novels, movies, plays, and so much more. So, do you often think ‘how many people look like me’? Well, you wouldn’t be the only one. Is there any truth to the story, though? Well, we will have to read on further to know more.


What Exactly is a Face? 

The question does sound pretty simple, doesn’t it? Well, the face is a combination of the eyes, ears, mouth, nose, dimples, and other important characteristics. These components then integrate together to create a picture that is presented to the rest of the world: your face. But what if we tell you that the picture of a face isn’t something that the brain sees when you are looking at someone? When we seem to recognize a particular object or face, we are basically comparing the image to another mental image that has been stored in our brain. There are some special cells in the brain that tend to activate when we are looking at different faces. So, what are the facial recognition cells actually looking at? When we are looking at a face, our eyes aren’t just sending information about the facial features of the person to our brain. We are perceiving the person as a whole. In certain cases, the arrangement of the features, as well as the geometry of the face, can cause confusion in the brain.


Understanding the Science Behind Facial Recognition 

In certain locations in our brain that help in recognition of the face, certain neurons tend to activate for the eyes that are, 6 cm apart. Also, there are some neurons that are activated for a certain mouth that is at a distance of 8 cm from the nose and so on. The combinations of these activated neurons tend to create a code or a map which is known as the facial schema. Hence, the face of a person, to our brain, isn’t just a picture but a pattern. In case any of these coded patterns are repeated unexpectedly, we will see a face, even if it isn’t there. This is what we know as pareidolia.

So, you must have definitely heard someone say that you look just like their older brother or sister or friend. There is some science associated with their lines. Say that you have a picture of two identical-looking people together. If you look at them at once, they might seem identical but if you look at their features separately, there might be some huge differences. So, the whole face might actually look similar to another, but they aren’t. This is the same thing that happens when we come across the doppelganger. These are all examples that our brain isn’t paying attention to the separate features but the whole face itself and hence isn’t able to decipher the visual patterns properly.

Of course, when we spend more time with people, we are able to tell the differences in their faces apart. This is because the part of the brain that assists in facial recognition gets some help from the long-term memory that we have. But if you have two people that are similar looking and you don’t know them, to you, they might look a lot alike. There are many people who are actually better at recognizing faces and patterns than others.


Is it true that there are 7 similar faces in the world? If you have read this article, you would definitely say no. Having said that, it is quite likely that one has a doppelganger in the world that looks somewhat or pretty much exactly like them. However, if the facial features are properly scrutinized on their own, it will be found that there are many physical differences between them. According to the concepts of science, doppelgangers don’t really exist. Every single face on earth is unique and that also includes identical twins.