In love, do opposites really attract? A large study answers the question

In love, do opposites really attract?  A large study answers the question

According to a large-scale study carried out on 130 million couples through the ages, the myth according to which we would be attracted to our opposite would be imagined from scratch. In truth, we are much more attached to similarities to find our half.

A study already taught us this summer that we are often attracted to a partner with traits that resemble us. Today, a new study of very large scale comes to drive the point home: in couple, it is indeed the similarities in many aspects of life that bring us together, much more than the attraction for a person opposite to us. .

IQ, addictions, political ideas… We associate with those who look like us

This conclusion, the authors take it from the analysis of a large number of studies carried out on the subject: a set of 199 studies on the common traits of millions of couples, supplemented by a current study of the characteristics of 80,000 heterosexual couples in the United Kingdom. .

By analyzing more than 130 million couples in this way, the researchers found that the partners were likely to resemble each other in 82% to 89% of cases.

  • First, characteristics such as height and weight, health problems, and personality traits had weak but still positive correlations;
  • The trait for which couples were most likely to be similar was, unsurprisingly, year of birth.
  • In both analyses, characteristics such as political and religious attitudes, level of education, and some measures of IQ showed particularly high correlations;
  • Characteristics related to substance use also showed high correlations, with heavy smokers, heavy drinkers, and abstainers having a strong tendency to associate with those with similar habits;
  • For only 3% of the traits, and only in part of their analysis, individuals tended to associate with those who were different from them.

In the meta-analysis, the researchers otherwise found “no convincing evidence” on any trait that attracts opposites.

Our choices in love are not so random as that

“Our results demonstrate that those who look alike are indeed more likely to congregate,” said first author Tanya Horwitz, a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and the Institute of Behavioral Genetics (IBG).

But that’s not all: this research not only reshapes our understanding of human relationships, but also has implications for genetic research: ”DMany models in genetics assume that human mating is random. This study shows that this assumption is probably wrong.” concludes co-author Matt

“These results suggest that even in situations where we feel we have a choice about our relationships, there may be mechanisms happening behind the scenes that we are not fully aware of.” confirm Tanya Horwitz.

The search for empathy at the heart of the couple

On the psychological side, what does this result tell us? Are we finally so predictable in love? We put the question to a psychologist, Johanna Rozenblum, who sees it more as a search for understanding in the other:

“These studies reveal that on many character traits the correlation is positive in the couple, which ultimately amounts to saying that we are attracted by what we recognize in ourselves in the other. This can be understood by this sense that if the other feels, lives, experiences things in the same way as us, this can certainly facilitate understanding, empathy and decision-making”.

Values ​​which, in fact, are part of the keys to couples that last.