Science: Opposites Only Sort Of Attract


Online daters turn out to have no idea what they're looking for.

According to a study at the prestigious Institute For Things I Could Have Told You (psych, it was Evolutionary Psychology), people are only superficially attracted opposites., breaks the study down like this:

Seven-hundred and sixty people from an online dating site were asked to answer some questions about themselves and what they're looking for in a mate. And then they were asked if they were into people who were similar or a complement to them (759 respondents liked people who complimented them, the other guy was a masochist). Then they introduced the phrase "positive participant-to-partner correlations" and stated that the respondents had ones that ranged from 0.51 to 0.62, which sounds outstanding to me. And the in the final calculus, it was said that people, despite what they might say, prefer mates with similar personality traits. I suppose this is why things never worked out between Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat.

Granted people who use the interweb for romantic endeavors might not be the best sample to use for a study like this (c'mon, some of them will take eh-nee-thing), but the logic still holds up. Unless you have a Zen-y disposition, it might be tricky to co-exist with someone who is radically different from a personality standpoint (did I already make a Paula Abdul / MC Skat Kat joke?). Sure, a Lakota and a Kiowa could probably make it but would a humble pie Long Islander and a pushy Lake Minnetonkan stand a chance? Yes, yes they would.

The whole "opposites attract" business aside, the real bummer of this whole study is that people either don't know or are kidding themselves about what they want. It's like everyone loves McDonalds and watching TV but no one ever puts it on their dating profile, you know ("looking for someone to share delicious ? Maybe this is why so many relationships fail. I've been blaming it on hormones this whole time.

Not to be totally obtuse, but could someone please explain what "positive participant-to-partner correlations" means and should I be excited if my number falls in the 0.51 to 0.62 range? And where in the spectrum would, say, Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat fall?