Study: Opposites Don’t Really Attract
Actually, we should say that perhaps opposites do attract on occasion, but they don’t stand the test of time.
Researchers at Wellesley College in Massachusetts and the University of Kansas combed college libraries, food courts and other public places to zero in on pairs. They defined pairs as any group of two people who appeared to be interacting -- regardless of whether they were romantically involved or whether they were two men or two women.
In all, 1,523 couples were recruited. Each person was asked to fill out a brief survey about personality traits, attitudes, values, recreational activities, and alcohol or drug use. The researchers then calculated how much of a role similarity played in certain aspects of the couples’ relationships, such as closeness, intimacy, and relationship length.
The result: similarities were prevalent in 86 percent of these variables.
Next, the researchers held a follow-up study involving students who had just met. Because their chances of being similar were random, the researchers wanted to determine whether similarity had any effect on becoming friends. When they caught up with these students later on, they found that 23 percent of them had remained in touch, and that there were several similarities between these people.
The researchers concluded that friends -- regardless of the type of friendship they have or how long they’ve known each other -- are intrinsically similar to one another. And the forces that compel us to create social circles of like-minded people may bestronger than previously believed.