People tend to choose partners like them: study

Researchers at the Michigan State University found that spousal similarity depends on partner selection and has nothing to do with gradual convergence of personality.

There has been a debate on why spouses are more similar to each other than random people, but the new findings suggest that opposite characteristics don't attract, said the researchers.

"This could reflect spouses' influence on each other over time, or this could be what attracted them to each other in the first place." study author Mikhila Humbad, a doctoral candidate at Michigan State University, was quoted as saying by LiveScience.

For their study, the researchers analysed the data of 1,296 couples who were married from two years to 19 years.

They asked nearly 200 questions to participants to assess their personality and behaviour, including whether they were ambitious, sociable, easily upset, physically violent or someone who likes to plan ahead.

It was found that there was no association between the length of the relationship and similarity of personalities within couples.

Rather, spousal similarity is better explained by partner selection than by gradual convergence of personality, said Humbad.

According to researchers, the one exception to this pattern was aggression.
Humbad said: "It makes sense if you think about it.

"If one person is violent, the other person may respond in a similar fashion and thus become more aggressive over time."

The study, the researchers said, could have implications for future spouses as well as their offspring.

"Marrying someone who's similar to you may increase the likelihood that you'll pass those traits on to your children," Humbad said.

The findings are published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

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