Friends and part­ners are more alike than pre­vi­ously thought

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle -

Ever won­dered why your best friend is your best friend? We might have an idea now. New re­search sug­gests that you may have more per­son­al­ity traits in com­mon with your friends and part­ners than pre­vi­ously thought.

Stud­ies have al­ready shown that friends and ro­man­tic part­ners often share cer­tain char­ac­ter­is­tics such as age, ed­u­ca­tion, and in­tel­li­gence. First au­thor on the new study Youyou Wu from the Uni­ver­sity of Cam­bridge, along with re­searchers from Stony Brook Uni­ver­sity in New York state and Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity in Cal­i­for­nia, used a Face­book app called MyPer­son­al­ity to col­lect Face­book data and per­son­al­ity ques­tion­naire scores from 295,320 par­tic­i­pants.

Us­ing the data and sta­tis­ti­cal models, the team as­sessed per­son­al­ity traits from Face­book Likes and sta­tus up­dates. Their find­ings re­vealed sig­nif­i­cant sim­i­lar­i­ties in per­son­al­ity traits be­tween friends and be­tween ro­man­tic part­ners.

The team be­lieve that pre­vi­ous stud­ies had failed to find an as­so­ci­a­tion as they had asked in­di­vid­u­als to rate their own per­son­al­ity traits us­ing self-re­port ques­tion­naires.

“When peo­ple an­swer ques­tions such as ‘Are you well-or­gan­ised?, they nat­u­rally end up com­par­ing them­selves to those around them,” said co-au­thor Michal Kosin­ski, “In other words, if you are sur­rounded by very well-or­gan­ised peo­ple, you may judge your own con­sci­en­tious­ness more harshly. Con­versely, a rel­a­tively messy in­di­vid­ual, liv­ing in a dorm filled with oth­ers who are even messier, might see her­self as a bea­con of clean­li­ness and or­der.”

Wu ex­plained how their ap­proach avoided such bias: “Peo­ple who like ‘Sal­vador Dali’ or ‘med­i­ta­tion’, for ex­am­ple, tend to score high on open­ness to new ex­pe­ri­ences. The ad­van­tage of this ap­proach is that ev­ery­one is be­ing judged against a uni­ver­sal stan­dard, leav­ing less room for sub­jec­tive judg­ment.”

The find­ings can be found pub­lished on­line in Psy­cho­log­i­cal Science, a jour­nal of the As­so­ci­a­tion for Psy­cho­log­i­cal Science.

THE TEAM AS­SESSED PER­SON­AL­ITY TRAITS FROM FACE­BOOK LIKES AND STA­TUS UP­DATES. THEY FOUND SIG­NIF­I­CANT SIM­I­LAR­I­TIES IN PER­SON­AL­I­TIES BE­TWEEN FRIENDS

PHOTO: ISTOCK

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