Spouse similarity in newlyweds with respect to specific cognitive abilities, socioeconomic status, and education

Behav Genet. 1981 Jan;11(1):1-21. doi: 10.1007/BF01065824.


Newlywed spouses (N = 215 couples) were tested on 21 tests of specific cognitive abilities and responded to a questionnaire on their educational and socioeconomic (SES) background. A comparison of the present spouse correlations with those of long-standing marriages suggests that spouses resemble each other in abilities from the start and that the degree of resemblance changes little over time. The low spouse correlations for SES of origin (their parents) suggests that education is the chief SES variable by which spouse selection takes place. Spouse resemblance in education and parental SES could explain almost all of the spouse correlations in perceptual speed and spatial ability. However, a small but significant degree of spouse similarity in verbal and reasoning abilities was independent of education and SES.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cognition
  • Education*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence*
  • Male
  • Marriage*
  • Memory
  • Social Class*
  • Spatial Behavior
  • Thinking
  • Time Factors
  • Verbal Behavior