It turns out that opposites don’t really attract after all, at least not in the looks department. It sounds pretty shallow, but the matching hypothesis is a real thing. It says that we naturally select partners based on whether they have a similar desirability level to our own.
Now, it’s no surprise that people with similar interests and personalities tend to be naturally attracted to one another, both romantically and platonically. But who knew popularity and hotness played such a key factor in finding a perfect love match? Researchers at Berkeley sought to test whether or not the matching hypothesis is actually valid and as it turns out, it is.
They tested over 3,000 users of an online dating site to find out if “individuals tend to seek out romantic relationship partners who approximately equal them in terms of social desirability.” What they found was that “individuals with greater self-worth report wanting more desirable romantic partners. Moreover, they actually select romantic partners of greater social desirability.” But there was no evidence that low self-worth individuals prefer low-desirable partners compared to high-desirable partners.
So to put it bluntly, the less popular kids still want to be with the cool kids, but the cool kids don’t want to be with them. It sounds kind of harsh, but according to the research, it’s only natural.
Anja Rubik and Sasha Knezevic Photo: Alexi Lubomirski, Vogue Germany June 2011