Is human mating adventitious or the result of lawful choice? A twin study of mate selection

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1993 Jul;65(1):56-68. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.65.1.56.


Pairs of middle-aged twins and their spouses provided data on 74 mainly psychological variables. Neither spousal similarity nor idiosyncratic criteria could account for specific mate selection in these 738 couples. Of the twins (and their spouses), 547 independently rated their initial attraction to their twin's mate (or to their spouse's twin): Findings suggest that characteristics both of the chooser and the chosen constrain mate selection only weakly. This article proposes that it is romantic infatuation that commonly determines the final choice from a broad field of potential eligibles and that this phenomenon is inherently random, in the same sense as is imprinting in precocial birds.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Love
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Object Attachment
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Twins / psychology*