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Psychology Paper - Do Opposites Attract?

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        Through the years, romantic movies have been built around the idea that people with opposite viewpoints or behaviors attract to each other. However, I have witnessed and taken part in several cases where that is simply not true. If faced with the question, “Do opposites attract?”, one must first research the evidence before making a final conclusion. In this short paper, I will examine the current knowledge we have about this topic and form a hypothesis based on my analysis. My goal in doing this is to prove my prior opinions wrong. By doing this, I am able to further my knowledge. Be skeptical when reading, as this will lead to the discovery of truth.

        Before I go in depth, I would like to state what my current opinion is. I believe that opposites can attract, but it is more likely that people of similar viewpoints will attract to each other. The assumption about balancing people's strengths and weakness to form a group is invalid, to me, because forming a group is not the same as forming a relationship. Relationships are about companionship and love, not about measuring ability to enhance production. Now, I would like to get into detail about a fascinating study done by Psychologist Eva C. Klohne, Ph.D.  Her study was performed on 291 newlyweds and it examined how their similarities and differences affected their compatibility.  The couples were examined on many different characteristics, such as attitudes and values. The results are as follows.

        The results that Klohne received were predictable, but surprising nonetheless. The results indicated that the couples were very alike in their values and attitudes. However, they had little chance of similarity on personality-related characteristics such as attachment, extraversion, and conscientiousness. There is absolutely no evidence to support the idea that opposites attract. Another astonishing find that Dr. Klohne uncovered from her study was that when happiness and marital quality were examined, it showed that personality similarity was coorelated with marital success, but attitude similarity was not. This truly intriguing discovery will certainly contribute to our knowledge about romantic compatibility.  

        The authors of the study state the following. “People may be attracted to those who have similar attitudes, values, and beliefs and even marry them on the basis of this similarity because attitudes are highly visible and salient characteristics and they are fundamental to the way people lead their lives.” On the other hand, personality-related features take longer to become apparent. The authors say that those characteristics are not likely to play a major role in a relationship until much later on. They add that once a couple is in a committed relationship, the personality similarity will be much more crucial in order to achieve marital success. This is because people in a committed relationship require much interaction with their spouse and thus need to have personality similarities in order to cooperate efficiently.



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