A study done by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder found that it is quite common for people to choose a partner based on some genetic similarities. So according to the study, we’re looking for people who remind us of our families whether or not we actually know it or not.
Benjamin Domingue is the lead author of this research paper and is a research associate at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Behavioral Science. Domingue says “it’s well known that people marry folks who are like them.” He adds “But there’s been a question about whether we mate at random with respect to genetics.”
He and his research team examined the genomes of 825 non-Hispanics and white couples. They found fewer differences between the DNA of married people than between two random people. The phenomenon is known as genetic assortative mating.
After examining the genomes of 825 non-Hispanic white American couples, Domingue and his team found fewer differences in the DNA between married people than between two randomly selected individuals. The name for this pattern in which people select mates with similar DNA to theirs is called “genetic assortative mating.”
Do the Educated Marry the Educated?
Surely assortative mating, and being attached to people similar to you are not something exclusively for genes. People also choose a partner with similar education, income, age, race and more. It just goes to prove that the whole opposites attract things are nice, but the truth is that birds of a feather flock together. The research found that this whole pattern is even starting to influence society in ways it did not use to.
What This Means for Society:
Jeremy Greenwood from the University of Pennsylvania examined the connection between education and marriage. He found that conclusion that well-educated people are more likely to marry another well-educated person. This link is growing stronger over the years. He also found that this trend led to a more concerning issue.
The income gap between couples with high and low education levels significantly widened. Greenwood feels that “educational assortative dating” is causing the rich to marry rich and the poor to marry the poor. However, his fear is based on the assumption that poor people are uneducated and that rich people are educated. Therefore he cannot be sure about what he is saying. How many of us know highly educated folks who deserve a larger paycheck? Teachers, am I right?
Getting Back to Looks:
In 2004 a study on identical twins found that the spouses of the twins are more similar to the spouses of fraternal twins. So according to this study, the more genes you share with a person, the more likely you are to find spouses that are similar to each other.
So if you and your twin sis fall in love with the same guy, you know why that is. The study also found that people not only look for genetically similar spouses but they also unconsciously look for friends with similar genes.
Are You in Love With Yourself?
Researchers at the University of St. Andrews put the theory that people are attracted to others similar to them on the genetic level to the test! They asked a group of heterosexuals to look at pictures of people of the opposite sex and rate how attractive the people are.
Mixed into the set of pictures were photos of faces that were edited to look like the judge him or herself. None of the participants realized that some of the photos were morphed pictures of their faces. The crazier part is that people in the study ranked the pictures made to look just like them as highly attractive. So yea, pretty much everyone thinks they are fly as heck. Either people are genetically predisposed to like someone similar to them or were all just a bunch of narcissists.
Everyone’s A Critic:
Many people are skeptical about linking attractiveness to genetic similarities. This group of critics brings up the fact that being attracted to people with similar genes leads to higher chances of disease as well as inbreeding. Evolution simply would not allow this predisposition to last, at least not dominantly. Perhaps this is why psychologist Robert Zajonc proposed his own theory about how and why couples end up looking alike.
Zajonc believed that couples wrinkles formed in the same places because they share a lifetime of similar emotions together. He categorizes his theory under the umbrella of “empathic mimicry.” According to this psychologist, couples can sense if they can have a long happy life together based on the lines on each other’s faces. If they shared similar experiences, then they share similar wrinkles
Hello? What About Personality?
The common denominator between all these theories on attractiveness is the fact that they all revolve around appearances.
Another study checked the similarity of personality starts between newlyweds and couples that lasted for decades. The study didn’t detect much of a difference. It turns out character can matter too!
Better Start Loving Yourself!
What we can conclude from all these studies is that we like people who are like us. Opposites attract, but not all chemistry is good chemistry. You should probably find someone who is just like you. If you don’t love yourself, you better start today!