Over at FiveThirtyEight, Emma Pierson crunched some numbers from eHarmony to figure out whether opposites truly are drawn to each other. Surprisingly (or not), the data showed that in every instance women preferred potential suitors who were similar to them. The site measured 102 characteristics — from race and height to education level and creativity.
It just so happens that Pierson's day job is at a genetic testing company called 23andMe, and she tapped into its data to see if the finding held true for actual couples rather than just people seeking a S.O. She and her colleagues collected information from 15,298 pairs who had children together (although they didn't know if those relationships had lasted) and compared them on a variety of factors, including race, BMI, and tendency to be apologetic. For 97% of the traits, there were positive correlations within couples — meaning that people who liked hiking, for example, tended to partner up with other hikers.
Of course, it's important to note that both data sets contained only straight couples, so these findings very well may not apply to all women. And, as we learned in science class, correlation does not necessarily imply causation. In the case of the 23andMe results, it's possible that the couples grew more similar over the course of their relationship.
Still, we'll take any insight we can get that helps us understand what we’re actually looking for in a match. We might think we want a partner that pushes our boundaries, but maybe, when we're looking for love, we should start with a look at ourselves. (FiveThirtyEight)