“They’re just not my type.” We’ve probably all heard someone utter these words, whether from a close friend, or while watching a favourite romantic comedy. But for all its prevalence in conversations about modern day relationships, hardly anyone has investigated whether such a thing as “my type” actually exists.
Recent research has suggested that we do have go-to preferences when it comes to demographic and physical characteristics such as education, age difference, hair colour, and height. But evidence to suggest we prefer to seek particular personality types as our partners has been lacking. Now a group of researchers may have finally found some – and if you’re not sure what your type is, you might want to look in a mirror.
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In a recent study, researchers used the longitudinal German Family Panel to assess where more than 12,000 survey participants fitted with the “big five” personality traits – openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Over nine years, the researchers tracked the relationship status of these people, who had to also persuade their partners to fill out the same personality questionnaire for the good of science.
After nine years and thousands of questionnaires, the researchers ended up with 332 participants who had been in relationships with at least two different romantic partners who were both happy to participate in the study. That’s a pretty hefty drop in sample size, but more than enough to draw firm conclusions from the data.