Signaled Similarity of Personality Dimensions in Mate Choice

  • Hidenori Komatsu Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry
  • Maryanne L. Fisher Saint Mary’s University
  • Nobuyuki Tanaka Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry
  • Aoshi Suzuki University of Aizu
  • Yasuhiro Hashimoto University of Aizu
  • Guanghao Liu University of Tokyo
  • Yu Chen University of Tokyo
Keywords: Big Five, homogamy, romantic attraction, signaling, online communication


Signaling theory offers an interpretation of how one’s impression of a potential mate’s personality affects mating strategies. It remains unclear how people perceive the (dis)similarity of a potential mate to one’s own personality and use this information in mating contexts. We focus on this distance in personality similarity between a potential mate and oneself, particularly in deciding whether to interact. We present a novel framework for investigating this issue via an online chatting tool. The actual personality of 24 participants was measured according to the Big Five Inventory. Then, participants were paired to have a conversation. Their face, occupations, and income were hidden, and their voice transformed to be neutral in pitch. They talked about their own experiences as related to the Big Five dimensions. Analysis of their communications showed their willingness to consider their partners as a friend, lover, and spouse was most explained by the distance between self-recognition of the impression of one’s own personality presumably held by the partner and the impression of the partner’s personality. Our results suggest people rely on the meta-perception of their personality rather than their actual personality, at least when considering potential mates when they first meet.

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