The Role of Genes and Environment in Degree of Partner Self-Similarity

James M. Sherlock, Karin J.H. Verweij, Sean C. Murphy, Andrew C. Heath, Nicholas G. Martin, Brendan P. Zietsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Choice of romantic partner is an enormously important component of human life, impacting almost every facet of day-to-day existence, however; the processes underlying this choice are remarkably complex and have so far been largely resistant to scientific explanation. One consistent finding is that, on average, members of romantic dyads tend to be more alike than would be expected by chance. Selecting for self-similarity is at least partially driven by phenotypic matching wherein couples share similar phenotypes, and preferences for a number of these traits are partly genetically influenced (e.g., education, height, social attitudes and religiosity). This suggests that genetically influenced preferences for self-similarity might contribute to phenotypic matching (and thus assortative mating), but it has never been studied in actual couples. In the present study, we use a large sample of twins to model sources of variation in self-similarity between partners. Biometrical modelling revealed that very little of the variation in the tendency to assortatively mate across 14 traits was due to genetic effects (7 %) or the shared environment of twins (0 %).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalBehavior genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Assortative mating
  • Mate choice
  • Quantitative genetics
  • Romantic preference
  • Self-similarity


Dive into the research topics of 'The Role of Genes and Environment in Degree of Partner Self-Similarity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this