Scientists Figured Out Why You Have A 'Type' — And It's Based On 3 Things

How did your type become, well... your type?

happy couple sitting together Getty Images

Pretty much everyone has a "type."

Even if you find yourself attracted to both the jock and the punk rocker, there is usually some underlying factor that draws you to them.

I’ve been hearing for years that women are attracted to people like their dads and looking at the characteristics of my boyfriend, I don’t really find that to be true. The whole thing is rather confusing because while I find a whole array of people attractive, I still tend to hone in on a few specific characteristics.


While my teenage friends were drooling over The Backstreet Boys, I was growing my love for the singers of Blink-182. And as I started getting older, my attraction to the “skater boy” type started creeping into real life with my boyfriend choices.

I’ve always liked artistic and musical guys with the surfer traits of tall, lean, long hair and lip rings. I’ve always wondered why that was and now, it seems that I have an answer.

According to the team researchers based at the University of California at Davis, there’s actually a reason why people gravitate towards partners with specific characteristics.


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Why do most people have a particular type they are attracted to?

A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology involved the analysis of over 1,000 heterosexual couples in both current and ex-relationships.


The scientists who performed the study found that people are most likely to have a history of partners with whom they share three things: similar physical characteristics, similar levels of intelligence, and similar educational and religious backgrounds.

There have been plenty of theories out there to sum up why we tend to be most attracted to people we share these traits with.

Many of them center around the thought that circumstances cause people to be around a similar pool of potential partners, such as the neighborhood where they live or the school they attend.

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This seems to be the main factor evidenced to be at play in this study, too.

“The exes of a particular person tended to be very similar on variables like education, religiosity, and intelligence, but this type of similarity was entirely due to the school that people attended,” the study concluded.

“Within their local school context, people were no more or less likely to select educated, intelligent, or religious partners.”

So, when it comes down to it, it seems important to evaluate what type of person you actually are, because this heavily determines the traits of the people that you choose to date.

Want to break out of your mold and try dating someone a little out of your comfort zone?


Try moving somewhere new, involving yourself in a different scene or taking up a new group hobby. You never know who you’ll meet.

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Shannon Ullman is a writer who focuses on women’s health, pop culture, entertainment, and relationships.