Opposites Don’t Actually Attract

Despite of what you may have heard, opposites actually don’t attract. Despite what most people say about seeking a wider circle of friendship (say, in a large college setting, where there are a lot of different types of people available), they typically befriend only those most similar to themselves.

In an ideal world, being able to meet lots of different people at college would lead to a diversity of friends; we’d take advantage of the human variety on display.

Instead of learning from people who were extremely different – who disagreed with their stance on abortion, or didn’t like ultimate frisbee, or never attended football games – students obey the similarity-attraction effect, sifting through the vast population to find the most homologous possible circle of friends. As the researchers put it, “the larger social contexts afford better opportunity for finegrained assortment.” Learn more here or here.

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