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Mating choice and Lonely Hearts Columns.

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Mating choice and Lonely Hearts Columns


Darwin’s evolutionary theory stated that all species picked partners who possessed certain characteristics which would offer their offspring a better chance of survival ‘ Survival of the fittest’.

   I wanted to see whether both genders offered/requested certain characteristics more or less than the other.

   I visited a website orientated around dating (mate choices) and accumulated data based upon those who had posted their add on the site.

  The independent variable was the gender of the person, where as the dependant variable was the number of terms they used in relation to personal appearance, financial resources and age.

  The results acquired were categorised accordingly in a table, in which I found out that;

  • Women tended to seek stability in the form of financial resources more than men, where as men tended to offer it more than their female counterparts.
  • Males tended to seek those who possessed a high level of physical attractiveness more than females. Where as females tended to offer it more than males.
  • Age was a very complex factor with both cases, as those who were young sought those who were older and vice versa. But those who were middle aged tended to seek those who were of their age group.

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  • Females tend to request partners older than themselves, where as males tend to request partners younger than themselves.

In relation to my hypotheses, my Null hypotheses were that:

  • There will be no significant difference between the ways in which males and females present and request certain characteristics in regards to lonely-hearts columns.

What I intended to measure specifically was the amount of terms relating to financial resources, personal appearance and age in which the two genders used (whilst requesting and offering).


This was a research-based study, which consisted of obtaining information on those who advertise themselves on the internet (www.dateclub.com).

The population, from which my sample was drawn from, was simply all those who used dateclub.com to advertise themselves and search for partners.

  I used a Quota sampling method in order to obtain my sample, which consisted of 20 males and 20 females of all ages.

  In relation to allocation to conditions, I divided my sample into 2 (males and females) and then issued corresponding marks in relevant categories according to the number of terminologies used by my sample in relation to personal appearance, financial resources and age.


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 (Total of all the differences divided by the number people who requested).

As the age ranges seemed to cause the most problems when it came to totalling, it could be said that this is where my methodological flaw lay. As if I knew this would have happened then I would have used a stratified sample to select only those who wanted someone between a certain age range, but at the same time have equal amounts of each gender.

The hypothesis, which was orientated around ‘financial resources and personal appearance’, conquered with my results. But that of ‘age’ didn’t, thus supporting my null hypothesis. I think this was because for both genders, those who were younger tended to seek those who were older and vice versa. Where as those who were in-between tended to seek those around their own age group, further proving that trends always change over timer.

One issue that kept on emerging throughout was that of the results being correlation based rather than that of causality. As in if it was to be a correlation then for example ‘females seeking financial resources more than males’ wouldn’t seem plausible.  

References and Appendices



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