Sometimes opposing adages fight to a draw: “Better safe than sorry” versus “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” But when it comes to “Opposites attract” versus “Birds of a feather flock together,” the data are in: we end up with partners like ourselves. A study of 291 newlywed couples found spouses to be closer in values, religiosity, and political attitudes than would be predicted by chance . Scientists have a term for this: positive assortative mating. (It’snegative assortative mating when opposites attract.)
The human species isn’t the only one that flocks together. A meta-analysis of assortative mating in animals based on traits such as size and color found that nearly all the assortment was positive . Not that sorting by size and color is limited to animals: humans tend to marry people with a similar level of body fat, and online daters stick to their own race .People also gravitate toward mates whose faces look like theirs. In one study, subjects who were presented with a series of photos were able to pair a woman’s image with that of her partner, based on facial similarities—even when only isolated features (noses, mouths, eyes) were displayed .
Read the whole story: The Atlantic