One of the biggest dating myths has been debunked

iStock / Izabela Habur

Everyone seems to think that opposites attract, but is there any truth to the cliché?

The idea that opposites attract is as old as romance itself. It is weaved throughout the soliloquies of Shakespeare and is embedded in the algorithms of dating apps.

Research collated by Dutch psychologist Pieternel Dijkstra in 2008 revealed that 86 per cent of people looking for a partner say they are seeking someone with opposite traits.

But could we all be getting it wrong?

According to psychologist Matthew D. Johnson, opposites do not attract.

In fact, Johnson argues that, scientifically speaking, people are attracted to people who are similar to them.

He observes that, since the 1950s, social scientists have conducted over 240 studies to determine whether similarity in terms of attitudes, personality traits, outside interests, values and other characteristics leads to attraction.

In 2013, psychologists examined the combined results of these studies. He writes:

They found an irrefutable association between being similar to and being interested in the other person. In other words, there is clear and convincing evidence that birds of a feather flock together.

While the idea that opposites attract may be romantic and poetic, there is essentially no evidence to suggest that this is the case.

Is it time to change your swiping strategy?

HT IFL Science

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