A major new investigation which aims to solve two of the biggest unanswered questions in psychology is being launched by researchers at the University of Cambridge in partnership with the BBC.
The project, which will form the next phase of the BBC's successful online experiment, the "Big Personality Test", will attempt to explain whether people with similar tastes have more successful relationships, or if opposites attract?
Little is known about whether personality characteristics influence initial attraction. Because adult attachment differences influence a broad range of relationship processes, the authors examined their role in 3 experimental attraction studies. The authors tested four major attraction hypotheses--self similarity, ideal-self similarity, complementarity, and attachment security--and examined both actual and perceptual factors. Replicated analyses across samples, designs, and manipulations showed that actual security and self similarity predicted attraction.
According to a study from Vancouver, Canada, "Three experiments explored the similarity-attraction effect (SAE) among North American and Japanese samples. In all studies, North Americans showed a significantly more pronounced SAE than the Japanese."
"The North Americans consistently revealed a strong SAE whereas the Japanese effect was only significant in the methods with the most power. The cultural differences emerged across different methods, and for the domains of personality, activities, attitudes and demographics," wrote S.J. Heine and colleagues, University of British Columbia.
The researchers concluded: "The cultural difference was mediated by self-esteem, indicating that a motivation for positive self-views is a mechanism underlying the SAE."
People do prefer those who are similar in background, interests, and values. They want to talk about things that interest them and do things familiar to them. A person who can provide social support by having similar beliefs and values is a likely potential friend. Despite the folk wisdom that opposites attract, similarity is more powerful than complementarity.
According to a new research study, the more similar married and dating couples are in their personalities and emotions the more satisfied they are with their relationship. The findings appear in the July issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA).