like likes like

Opposites don’t attract, at least in regard to choosing a long-term mate, say researchers at Cornell University in a study published online last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Peter M. Buston and Stephen T. Emlen asked 978 volunteers to rank 10 attributes they valued most in a potential mate, including wealth, physical attractiveness, and commitment to family. They then had the respondents rate themselves on the same characteristics. The researchers found that people who rated an attribute important in a partner also rated themselves highly on the same attribute. Previous mate-choice studies have concentrated on reproductive potential: the theory goes that men want young, healthy, attractive women who’ll bear many children, and women want older, wealthy men who can support their offspring. But the authors say otherwise: “Our results suggest that individuals seeking stable long-term relationships should not seek the highest-quality partner available, but should simply look for partners who are similar to themselves.”

This news brief appeared in the Random Data column of the Boston Globe’s Health/Science section on 7/08/2003.
This entry was posted in boston globe, news briefs. Bookmark the permalink.