Women are more likely to choose a man just like dear old dad than men are to select a mate like their moms.

The findings are part of a University of Southern California research study on romance."What people said about their opposite-sex parent closely paralleled their romantic partner's style," says Stephen Read, assistant professor of psychology at USC's College of Letters.

"If women described their dads as warm and responsive," Read reports, "their male partner was usually comfortable being close to others and depending on other people."

A man's relationship with his mother predicts slightly different characteristics in the mate of his choosing, Read says. For example, men who describe their mothers as warm and responsive are no more likely than other men to pick warm, responsive women. But they are less likely than other men to choose anxious, clingy women who are afraid of being abandoned.

The study, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, included 71 couples between the ages of 18 and 44 who had been dating an average of 18 months. Read conducted the study with Nancy Collins, who is working on a doctorate in social psychology.