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Psychol Sci. 2005 Jul;16(7):555-9.

Mate choice and friendship in twins: evidence for genetic similarity.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 5C2, Canada.


This study examined the genetic and environmental contribution to people's preference for spouses and friends to be similar to themselves. In their responses to 130 personality, attitude, and demographic questions, 174 pairs of monozygotic (MZ) twins resembled each other (r= .53) more than did 148 pairs of dizygotic (DZ) twins (r= .32), 322 pairs of spouses (r= .32), and 563 pairs of best friends (r= .20). It was not previously recognized that spouses and friends are as similar as DZ twins. MZ twins also chose spouses and best friends more similar to their co-twins' friends and spouses than did DZ twins (mean rs = .22 vs. .14). The twins' preference for spouses and friends similar to themselves was about 34% due to the twins' genes, 12% due to the twins' common environment, and 54% due to the twins' unique (nonshared) environment. Similarity to partners was more pronounced on the more heritable items than the less heritable items. It is concluded that people are genetically inclined to choose as social partners those who resemble themselves at a genetic level.

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