Best Practices for Testing the Predictive Validity of Ideal Partner Preference-Matching

Paul W. Eastwick*, Eli J. Finkel, Jeffry A. Simpson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many psychological hypotheses require testing whether the similarity between two variables predicts important outcomes. For example, the ideal standards model posits that the match between (A) a participant’s ideal partner preferences, and (B) the traits of a current/potential partner, predicts (C) evaluative outcomes (e.g., the decision to date someone, relationship satisfaction, breakup); tests of the predictive validity of ideal-matching require A × B → C analytic strategies. However, recent articles have incorrectly suggested that documenting a positive samplewide correlation between a participant’s ideals and a current partner’s traits (an A-B correlation) implies that participants pursued, selected, or desired partners with traits that matched their ideals. There are at least six alternative explanations for the emergence of a samplewide A-B correlation; A-B correlations do not provide evidence that ideals guide the selection/evaluation of specific partners. We review appropriately rigorous A × B → C tests that can aid scholars in identifying the circumstances in which ideal-matching exhibits predictive validity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-181
Number of pages15
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

Keywords

  • close relationships
  • human mating
  • ideals
  • matching hypothesis
  • predictive validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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