Perceived and Actual Characteristics of Parents and Partners: A Test of a Freudian Model of Mate Selection
Research on resemblance in personality between romantic partners and opposite-sex parents has been somewhat inconsistent. Strauss found that personality descriptions of mates were similar to descriptions of both opposite-sex parents and same-sex parents. The instructions of the last page of the packet asked subjects to provide the names and addresses of their significant others and oppo-site-sex parents. In terms of actual similarity between subjects' parents and romantic partners, some interesting results were obtained. Evidence regarding actual similarity between romantic partners and parents suggests that people's partners tend to be similar to their opposite-sex parents along some dimensions. The notion that individuals seek romantic partners reminiscent of their opposite-sex parents specifically has been labeled the "psychoanalytic theory of mate selection" as well as the "template matching hypothesis", implying that one's opposite-sex parent is used as a template for determining romantic partner choice.