Researchers have found that people who are on dating apps tend to prefer potential partners who have similar levels of agreeableness, conscientiousness, and extraversion. The results also showed that people were generally more likely to match with dating profiles that were perceived as agreeable, emotionally stable, and introverted. The new findings have been published in Personality and Individual Differences.
People tend to engage in assortative mating, which involves choosing a partner with whom you share commonalities. Some research shows that couples score similar to each other on conscientiousness and openness from the Big Five personality traits while other research has found that other personality traits are more commonly shared among couples.
Personality traits can be inferred via online dating platforms by reading candidates’ profile pages. Previous studies in this area had limitations, such as a small number of profiles evaluated and the use of personality assessment tools with reduced internal consistency.
Therefore, the researchers — Jessica De La Mare and Anthony Lee — sought to overcome these shortcomings by having participants rate a larger number of dating profiles and using the comprehensive Big Five Inventory (BFI-44) to measure participants’ personality traits.
Mare and Lee recruited 383 participants who were asked to evaluate 100 different online dating profiles. Participants were shown profiles that consisted of a picture of the person and a brief bio and were asked if they would like to match with the person. The personal descriptions were gender-neutral and designed to reflect different levels of the Big Five personality traits. Participants were asked to rate whether each personal bio displayed high or low levels of the five personality traits.
Results from this study show that participants with certain personality traits were no more likely to get more matches than participants with other personality types. However, participants typically preferred candidates’ dating profiles if the candidate was perceived as very agreeable and emotionally stable.
The results of the study showed that participants’ own personality traits did not significantly affect the number of matches they gave. However, when it came to the perceived personality of the personal descriptions in the profiles, there were significant effects. Participants tended to prefer potential matches who were perceived as agreeable and emotionally stable.
They also showed a preference for profiles that were perceived as more introverted. But there were no significant effects for perceived conscientiousness or openness, suggesting that these traits did not strongly influence the number of matches a profile received.
Participants who had higher levels of agreeableness were more likely to match with profiles that were perceived as agreeable. The same pattern was observed for openness, where participants with higher openness matched with profiles perceived as more open. Participants who were more extraverted tended to match with profiles that were perceived as more extraverted. However, contrary to expectations, there was no significant interaction for conscientiousness.
Mare and Lee argue that their study supports the idea that people display assortative preferences in the context of online dating, particularly for the personality traits agreeableness and openness.
“Our results could help, in part, explain previous findings that established couples tend to be more similar on personality, and that such effects are not solely due to social homogamy or couples becoming more similar over time,” the researchers concluded. “However, it is important to note that the stability of personality over a lifetime is not yet fully understood. As such, while our study supports the notion that individuals are initially attracted to others with whom they share similarities on certain personality traits, it does not speak to whether couples’ personalities converge over time.”
The study was titled: “Assortative preferences for personality and online dating apps: Individuals prefer profiles similar to themselves on agreeableness, openness, and extraversion.”