People choose romantic partners who have similar characteristics to themselves, a study of over 1,000 people has found.
They go for similar personality, intelligence levels and levels of education.
So, the most compatible personality types are similar personalities.
When it comes to physical characteristics, people also seem to have a ‘type’.
For example, women who like attractive, dominant, masculine men tend to have ex-partners who fit the same profile.
The conclusions come from a study in which people were asked about their current and ex-partners.
The results showed that people choose partners who are similar to themselves in many different ways.
Dr Paul Eastwick, the study’s first author, said:
“Do people have a type?
But sometimes it reflects your personal desirability and sometimes it reflects where you live.”
Dr Eastwick explained that some of the similarities between ex-partners were down to being brought up in the same area:
“A second study examined the ex-partners of several hundred young adults sampled from schools across the United States.
The exes of a particular person tended to be very similar on variables like education, religiosity, and intelligence, but this type of similarity was entirely due to the school that people attended.
Within their local school context, people were no more or less likely to select educated, intelligent, or religious partners.”
However, locality cannot totally explain why birds of a feather flock together — people are on the lookout for something similar, every time.
The study strongly refutes the received notion that opposites attract.
Far from it: opposites repel!
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Eastwick al., 2017).