Understanding The Role of Mate Selection Processes in Couples’ Pair-Bonding Behavior

Briana N. Horwitz, Chandra A. Reynolds, Hasse Walum, Jody Ganiban, Erica L. Spotts, David Reiss, Paul Lichtenstein, Jenae M. Neiderhiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Couples are similar in their pair-bonding behavior, yet the reasons for this similarity are often unclear. A common explanation is phenotypic assortment, whereby individuals select partners with similar heritable characteristics. Alternatively, social homogamy, whereby individuals passively select partners with similar characteristic due to shared social backgrounds, is rarely considered. We examined whether phenotypic assortment and/or social homogamy can contribute to mate similarity using a twin–partner design. The sample came from the Twin and Offspring Study in Sweden, which included 876 male and female monozygotic and same-sex dizygotic twins plus their married or cohabitating partners. Results showed that variance in pair-bonding behavior was attributable to genetic and nonshared environmental factors. Furthermore, phenotypic assortment accounted for couple similarity in pair-bonding behavior. This suggests that individuals’ genetically based characteristics are involved in their selection of mates with similar pair-bonding behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-149
Number of pages7
JournalBehavior Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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