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Similarities Attract

September 12, 2005

Do opposites really attract? Bob Hirshon has this report.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Seeking our genetic soulmates. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

We’ve all heard that "opposites attract," but in reality, it’s similar people who tend to stick together. That’s according to psychologist J. Phillipe Rushton of the University of Western Ontario in Canada.
He and his colleague found that when it comes to personality and beliefs, people in their study were about as similar to their own spouses and best friends as they were to a fraternal twin. Spouses matched each other more closely on personality traits that were more heritable.

J. PHILLIPE RUSHTON (University of Western Ontario, Canada):
… implying that it is genetic similarity that people are choosing, rather than similarity based on cultural upbringing.

HIRSHON:
Rushton says we may be biologically driven to seek mates who are just different enough to mix up the gene pool, but similar enough to pass plenty of our own genes to the next generation.

I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.