August 26, 2010
Marriage Does Not Change Personalities

Personalities of married people do not converge. Since personality types are so stable this result is not surprising. But it cuts against a mythology about marriage.

The researchers analyzed the data of 1,296 married couples, one of the largest such studies to date, said Humbad, MSU doctoral candidate in clinical psychology. The data came from the Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research.

The researchers wanted to know if husbands and wives become more similar as the marriage progressed. They examined a host of personality characteristics and found that, in most cases, the couples did not become more alike with more years of marriage.

The conclusion: Spousal similarity is better explained by selection than gradual convergence.

The one exception to this pattern was aggression. “It makes sense if you think about it,” Humbad said. “If one person is violent, the other person may respond in a similar fashion and thus become more aggressive over time.”

The moral of the story: If your prospective mate has personality flaws you do not expect to be able to stand in the long run do not anticipate those flaws going away.

On a similar note, I am sure dogs and their owners do not become more like each other. Though with time fondness for a dog can become very strong even if their personalities are very unlike your own. This makes them different than spouses in a positive way.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 August 26 09:40 PM  Brain Personality

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