Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Do Opposites Attract Or Do Birds Of A Feather Flock Together?

Date:
February 15, 2005
Source:
American Psychological Association
Summary:
Do people tend to select romantic partners that are similar to them or opposite to them? And does spouse similarity lead to marital happiness? In one of the most comprehensive studies ever undertaken on these questions, researchers at the University of Iowa find that people tend to marry those who are similar in attitudes, religion and values. However, it is similarity in personality that appears to be more important in having a happy marriage.

WASHINGTON -- Do people tend to select romantic partners that are similar to them or opposite to them? And does spouse similarity lead to marital happiness? In one of the most comprehensive studies ever undertaken on these questions, researchers at the University of Iowa find that people tend to marry those who are similar in attitudes, religion and values. However, it is similarity in personality that appears to be more important in having a happy marriage. The findings appear in the February issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Related Articles


Psychologist Eva C. Klohnen, Ph.D., and graduate student Shanhong Luo, M.A., of the University of Iowa looked at assortative mating issues (mating based on similar or opposite characteristics) among 291 newlyweds who had participated in the Iowa Marital Assessment Project. The newlyweds had been married less than a year at the time the study began and had dated each other for an average of three and a half years. The couples were assessed on a broad range of personality characteristics, attitudes and relationship quality indicators.

Results show that couples were highly similar on attitudes and values; however, they had little or no above-chance similarity on personality-related domains such as attachment, extraversion, conscientiousness and positive or negative emotions. There is no evidence that opposites attract. What is most intriguing is that when the researchers assessed marital quality and happiness, they found that personality similarity was related to marital satisfaction, but attitude similarity was not.

"People may be attracted to those who have similar attitudes, values, and beliefs and even marry them – at least in part – on the basis of this similarity because attitudes are highly visible and salient characteristics and they are fundamental to the way people lead their lives," explain the authors. Personality-related characteristics, on the other hand, take much longer to be known and to be accurately perceived and are not likely to play a more substantial role until later in the relationship, they add.

"However, once people are in a committed relationship, it is primarily personality similarity that influences marital happiness because being in a committed relationship entails regular interaction and requires extensive coordination in dealing with tasks, issues and problems of daily living. Whereas personality similarity is likely to facilitate this process, personality differences may result in more friction and conflict in daily life," say the authors. "As far as attitudes are concerned, people who chose to marry each other should be well aware of how similar or different they are on these domains because attitudes are very visible and salient. This suggests that attitudinal and value differences, when they exist, are part of a conscious decision to stay together on the basis of other important considerations, according to Luo and Klohnen.

Given that their research indicates that similarity in attitudes and values may play a different role in relationship development than does personality similarity, Luo and Klohnen suggest that future research should examine how similarity in different domains are related to relationship outcomes for couples in earlier and later stages of relationship development.

###

Article: "Assortative Mating and Marital Quality in Newlyweds: A Couple-Centered Approach," Shanhong Luo and Eva C. Klohnen, University of Iowa; Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 88, No. 2.

Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office or at http://www.apa.org/journals/releases/psp882304.pdf

The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 53 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association. "Do Opposites Attract Or Do Birds Of A Feather Flock Together?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050213191438.htm>.
American Psychological Association. (2005, February 15). Do Opposites Attract Or Do Birds Of A Feather Flock Together?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050213191438.htm
American Psychological Association. "Do Opposites Attract Or Do Birds Of A Feather Flock Together?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050213191438.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins