The Effect of Childhood Experiences on Mate Choice in Personality Traits Essay

This studies’ main focal point was addressing the contemplated issue of whether parental models have any influence on our mate choices in the aspect of personality traits (sexual imprinting hypothesis). Results of the study showed that people do tend to seek to a partner for a long-term committed relationship, whose personality traits are similar to those of their parents, and often times this inclination is strongly correlated with their early childhood parental rearing experiences.

The main parental influence that was investigated in this study was the parallels of both the parent’s and spouse’s personality characteristics. The sexual imprinting of personality characteristics was predicted that individual’s can learn the characteristic features of their close relatives, and thereafter prefer to partner with a mate that is not much but slightly different from their parents and siblings that helped rear them.

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The studies other predictions stated that spouses would show a higher rate of similarity in the terms of personality traits than individuals who were paired up randomly from a population. Also, that the wife’s personality structure would be more similar to that of her husband’s mother, and vice versa, the husband’s personality structure would be more similar to that of the wife’s father, than to women and men who were randomly paired from a population. Lastly, the similarity in personalities would depend on how close the relationship between mother and son, and father and daughter were in their early childhood.

The study believes that men and women who indeed did have favorable relationships with their opposite-sex parent during childhood would be more likely to search for a mate who resembled this particular parent in personality traits, than those who grew up in a less favorable family surrounding. To further investigate their personality resemblances, researchers of this study investigated forty-nine young couples and their opposite-sex parents in the year of 2009.

The couples were randomly selected from both full-time and part-time students attending the University of Pecs, in Pecs, Hungary, after selection their parent’s living in various locations were also located to participate in the study. The study’s main criteria for selection was based on the notion that the student couples had to be partners for at least five years and/or should be living in a committed relationship, meaning that the couples should be engaged or married for at least a year.

Once selected the couples and parents were handed and requested to complete two handouts: the first handout being the Caprara Big Five Questionnaire (BFQ) and the second handout being the s-EMBU retrospective attachment, both of which aided in measuring the personality similarities of mate’s and their spouses parents. The BFQ contained a total of five proportions, each consisting of two subscales (each subscale consisted of 12 items) and also contained a Social Desirability scale which was improvised to measure a person’s concepts of sincerity.

The subjects were asked to overlook 132 descriptive statements and situations all of which were categorized in factors of Energy, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, and Openness. Once the statements were reviewed subjects were asked to respond on a five-scale Likert scale in response to how they felt about the situations and statements listed. In addition to this questionnaire also implemented was the s-EMBU retrospective attachment, this attachment was used to show how the adults remember their rearing behavior of their parents within their early childhood.

This attachment consisted of three subscales: Emotional Warmth, Overprotection, and Rejection. Subjects were improvised to indicate the level of agreement separately for both of their parents on a scale of one to four. Once both questionnaires were taken, the standard scores of the BFQ questionnaire were turned into T-values, and inputted and evaluated along with other data on the SPSS 15. 0 Windows for statistical program packaging, and results were found. The results of the study were categorized into three components: Similarities in personality, Personality and childhood experiences, and Intraclass correlations.

Similarities of personality showed that spouses resembled one another in the personality traits of Extraversion, Conscientiousness, and Openness. The data proved that wives and their mother-in-laws were similar in terms of Conscientiousness, as well as association between wife and her father-in-law as well. No correlation was found between husbands and their father-in-laws, so therefore sexual imprinting recognized that the matching of personality traits could be demonstrated only in the cases of men.

Results of Personality and childhood experiences showed that maternal Rejection and Emotional Warmth encompass and influence the mate selection of males. The maternal love shown during early childhood exhibits a powerful effect on Agreeableness; the less emotional warmth a mother shows in nurturing their son, the more their mate’s resemble their mother in this trait. As well as, the more rejection that men experience by their mother in early childhood, the more likely they are to choose a mate whom resembles their mother-in-law in Emotional stability.

The study was not able to demonstrate the contrary, whether women are influenced by paternal Rejection, Emotional warmth, and Stability in their mate choice. Lastly results of Intraclass correlations, there was no correlation held between the BFQ data of the mother of men who experienced a small degree of Rejection and their spouses. Although, correlation was found between the data of the mother of men who received little Emotional Warmth and their spouses on the Conscientiousness scale.

There was a strong correlation held between the mother and the wives who experienced a high degree of Rejection by their mother on the Emotional Stability main scale. All in all the study found that children who do indeed experience a positive and constructing family environment, as well as rewarding social relationships with their parents, in early childhood are more apt to mold a mental comparison of the parent’s physical appearance and personality traits, and search for a committed partner who tends to resemble their parents in these specific schemas.

By evaluating this study, I believe that anyone in a committed relationship can benefit from this study. I found that I myself have learned a lot about my preferences in mate choice just from this study. I grew up without a father but was very close to my grandfather, whom provided me with a stable, positive and favorable environment growing up, as well as instilled within in me many favorable insights. Therefore, when looking at the opposite mate choice I find that I tend to look for men who not resemble my grandfather in physical appearance but in personality traits.

I’ve always admired my grandfather’s dedication, honesty, humbleness, intelligence, and love of culture and I find that I look for these traits as well in the opposite-sex. And I’m pretty sure when I’m ready to settle down and begin a committed-long-term relationship the person whom I choose to be with will uphold the personality traits I find favorable. This study I found to be very strong, the researchers involved went about the study in a diplomatic way. They randomly choose couples providing a larger pool of population representation, and there predictions were very literate, simple, but yet justifiable.

The questionnaires provided I believe were strong in comparing emotional and personality traits of the couples and their parents. The end results were interesting and most predictions were able to correlate positively with the end results. Therefore, I can justly say that this was indeed a very reliable, strong, and sturdy study that was conducted.

Works Cited

Gyuris, P. , Jarai, R. , & Bereczkei, T. (2010). The effect of childhood experiences on mate choice in personality traits: Homogamy and sexual imprinting. Elsevier: Personality and Individual Differences, 49, 467-472. www. elsevier. com/locate/paid

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