Opposites Don’t Attract (And That’s Bad News)


Opposites attract. Although we love to repeat this optimistic cliche about human natures, decades of psychological research have demonstrated that the trusim isn’t true. Rather, people seek out people who are just like them. This is known as the similarity-attraction effect, or SAE. Although there is slight variation in the strength of the effect, the SAE has been shown to exist in nearly every culture, from Western Europe to the remote tribes of the Brazilian rainforest. It doesn’t matter where we live or how we grew up or which language we speak – we still want to spend time with people who feel similar. It’s simply more comfortable.

Consider this study, conducted by Paul Ingram and Michael Morris at Columbia University. The psychologists invited a motley group of executives to a cocktail mixer, where they were encouraged to network with new people. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of executives at the event said their primary goal was to meet “as many different as people as possible” and “expand their social network”. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.

Read the whole story: Wired

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