Publication Type

Journal Article

Version

Postprint

Publication Date

11-2013

Abstract

Although mate preference research has firmly established that men value physical attractiveness more than women do and women value social status more than men do, recent speed-dating studies have indicated mixed evidence (at best) for whether people’s sex-differentiated mate preferences predict actual mate choices. According to an evolutionary, mate preference priority model (Li, Bailey, Kenrick, & Linsenmeier, 2002; Li & KENRICK, 2006; Li, Valentine, & Patel, 2011), the sexes are largely similar in what they ideally like, but for long-term mates, they should differ on what they most want to avoid in early selection contexts. Following this model, we conducted experiments using online messaging and modified speed-dating platforms. Results indicate that when a mating pool includes people at the low end of social status and physical attractiveness, mate choice criteria are sex-differentiated: Men, more than women, chose mates based on physical attractiveness, whereas women, more than men, chose mates based on social status. In addition, individuals who more greatly valued social status or physical attractiveness on paper valued these traits more in their actual choices. In particular, mate choices were sex-differentiated when considering long-term relationships but not short-term ones, where both sexes shunned partners with low physical attractiveness. The findings validate a large body of mate preferences research and an evolutionary perspective on mating, and they have implications for research using speed-dating and other interactive contexts.

Keywords

mate preferences, speed-dating, long-term mating, short-term mating, evolutionary psychology

Discipline

Gender and Sexuality | Social Psychology

Research Areas

Psychology

Publication

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

Volume

105

Issue

5

First Page

757

Last Page

776

ISSN

0022-3514

Identifier

10.1037/a0033777

Publisher

American Psychological Association

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0033777

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