The Matching Hypothesis Strikes Again

MichaelSocial Psychology1 Comment

What happens when people “marry outside their looks” (that is, when you marry someone who is obviously much more attractive than you are)? There’s an interesting and humorous article on page 86 of the May 7, 2007 issue of Time magazine that discusses just this. The title is “The Last Taboo”. Or, as the author puts it, “Marrying a few degrees up or down the hotness scale.” Recall that part of episode 4 (“On Birds Flocking and Opposites Attracting”) is about what psychologists often refer to as the matching hypothesis – the observation that we all seem to have a sense of how attractive we are and how attractive other people are and we tend to marry people who we deem to be at about our same “level”.

Here are a couple other examples of seeming mismatches:

  • They’re now divorced but Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett

  • Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt

  • Dennis Kucinich and his wife Elizabeth Jane (Harper) Kucinich

  • Episode 4 discusses the matching hypothesis in more detail.
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