A groundbreaking analysis by scientists at the University of California, Boulder, has found that the long-held belief that opposites attract is nothing more than a myth. The study, which examined more than 130 traits and millions of married couples over more than a century, found that people are most often attracted to those with similar characteristics.
Tanya Horwitz, the study’s first author, a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and the Institute for Behavioral Genetics (IBG), emphasized the significance of the findings. “Our study clearly demonstrates that birds of a similar feather are indeed more likely to congregate together,” she stated.
Published in the prestigious journal Nature Human Behaviour, the study confirms what previous individual studies have long said, debunking the age-old adage that opposites attract. The study shows that between 82% and 89% of the traits analyzed, including political views, age of first intercourse, and substance use habits, indicate a preference for similarities between partners.
However, it is important to note that for only 3% of the traits, individuals prefer partners who are different from them. This finding refutes the notion that complete opposites are attracted to each other and emphasizes the preference for similarity in relationships.
Dr. John Gottman, psychologist and relationship expert, said: “The results of this study are consistent with my own research, which has consistently shown that couples who share core values and beliefs are more likely to have successful and fulfilling relationships. Compatibility plays a crucial role in long-term relationship satisfaction.”
In addition to revolutionizing our understanding of romantic relationships, this study also has significant implications for genetic research. Senior author and IBG director Matt Keller explains that many genetic models assume random mating between people. However, this study has shown that “assortative mating,” where individuals with similar personality traits form partnerships, can skew the results of genetic research.
The implications of this study are far-reaching, as it forces a reassessment of previously obtained genetic data. By recognizing the prevalence of assortative mating, scientists will be able to refine their models and gain a more accurate understanding of the genetic factors that influence various traits and conditions.
To fully understand the significance of this study, it is necessary to understand the historical context and scientific background related to the topic of attraction and relationships. Throughout history, the idea of opposites attracting has been deeply rooted in popular culture, embodied in literature, movies, and even personal examples. However, as scientific research has progressed, it has become increasingly clear that this belief is not empirically supported.
Dr. Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist and senior fellow at the Kinsey Institute, “This study provides compelling evidence that humans are naturally inclined to seek partners with similar traits and characteristics. It challenges our preconceived notions of attraction and forces us to rethink the dynamics of romantic relationships.”
Scientific and Historical Information:
Throughout history, there have been various theories and explanations for why opposites attract. One popular theory is based on the idea of complementarity, suggesting that people are attracted to those who possess qualities they lack. However, a new study challenges these theories and provides a more nuanced understanding of human attraction.
Dr. Laura Berman, relationship psychotherapist:
“This study confirms the importance of shared values and interests in maintaining healthy relationships. Although initial attraction may be driven by differences, long-term compatibility is more likely among people who share common views.”