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Mate Selection and Preferences Across Decades

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Introduction

Running head: MATE SELECTION AND PREFERENCES ACROSS DECADES Mate Selection and Preferences Across Decades Michelle Varnum Saint Martin's University Abstract Mate selection and preferences will be explored from various participants throughout the World Wide Web and through previous research conducted by professionals using 15 professional journal articles. 100 participants filled out an online survey on what characteristics they look for in selecting a potential partner. Participants responded to what type of person they'd rather be with and the number one characteristic they look for when selecting a mate. It is predicted that not only physical attractiveness, depending on gender, is the main characteristic that people look for when selecting a potential partner, but so is personality. Various studies and former research regarding physical attractiveness and personality will be discussed. The results proved that a non-physical aspect such as personality is just as important, if not more, as attractiveness to most people when selecting a romantic mate. Mate Selection and Preferences Across Decades Psychologists and researchers have spent many dedicated hours studying the characteristics that people look for when selecting a potential mate. The results have been surprising in some cases; stereotypes have even been exhausted in that looks alone are not truly the number one characteristic that most people look for when deciding to build a romantic relationship with a certain person. In fact, based on research and surveys, looks may not even be the top criterion when deciding on a mate, depending on gender. Research has shown that personality is just as important when selecting a mate as is attractiveness. The stereotype that most people are only attracted to others who possess good looks is proven in this paper to be a notion of the past. This paper will prove the assertion and detail the important studies that have found that attractiveness is not the main key component in selecting a romantic partner. ...read more.

Middle

mutual attraction, 4) pleasing disposition, and 5) desire for home/children. Again, as with the men's responses, the women remained constant with four of the five characteristics, but again we see a strong importance placed on having children and a home. Notice in all three decades for both men and women, "good looks" were not at the top of the list in regards to selecting a mate, however, which each decade, good looks became more and more important for the men. Per Cunningham, Barbee, and Druen (1996), men and women usually prefer the same characteristics when considering a potential partner, as shown in the table above. In 1994, Sprecher, Sullivan, and Hatfield conducted a survey of men and women on a national level asking them "how willing they would be to marry someone who possessed a variety of characteristics" (p. 1076). The men responded that if the women were not good looking, they would be less likely to marry them. The women, on the other hand, responded that if the men were not likely to hold a steady job and earned less than they did, they were less likely to marry those men. Berscheid and Regan (1997) note that despite the respondent's answers, it didn't mean that attractiveness was not important to women and holding a steady job with a good income was not important to men when deciding on a mate. In fact, according to Sprecher's study (1989), both women and men prefer physically attractive partners, and tend to prefer partners that are equivalent when it comes to having a good job with good pay (i.e. "social status). A survey research method was used to investigate the current characteristics that people look for when deciding on a potential romantic partner. A web-based survey collected data pertaining to respondent's choices regarding specific characteristics that they first notice when determining to select that person as a potential mate as well as their age, beliefs, and what type of person they'd rather be with in regards to body type and features. ...read more.

Conclusion

(1997). Gender differences in characteristics desired in a potential sexual and marriage partner. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 9, 25-37. Betzig, L. (1989). Causes of conjugal dissolution: A cross-cultural study. Current Anthropology, 30, 654-676. Buss, D.M., & Barnes, M. (1986). Preferences in human mate selection. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50, 559-570. Buss, D.M., Shackelford, T.K., Kirkpatrick, L.A., & Larsen, R.J. (2001). A half century of mate preferences: The cultural evolution of values. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63, 491-503. Cunningham, M.R., Barbee, A.P., & Druen, P.B. (1996). Social allergens and the reactions that they produce: Escalation of annoyance and disgust in love and work. In R.M. Kowalski (Ed.), Aversive interpersonal behaviors (pp. 189-214). New York: Plenum Press. Daly, M., & Wilson, M. (1983). Sex, evolution, and behavior (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Eagly, A.H. (1987). Sex differences in social behavior: A social role interpretation. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Eagley, A.H., & Karau, S.J. (1991). Gender and the emergence of leaders: A meta-analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 685-710. Fisman, R., Iyengar, S.S., Kamenica, E., & Simonson, I. (2006). Gender differences in mate selection: Evidence from a speed dating experiment. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 121(2), 673-697. Geary, D.C., Vigil, J., & Byrd-Craven, J. (2004). Evolution of human mate choice. The Journal of Sex Research, 41, 27-42. Hill, R. (1945). Campus values in mate-selection. Journal of Home Economics, 37, 554-558. Hudson, J.W., & Henze, L.F. (1969). Campus values in mate selection: A replication. Journal of Marriage and Family, 31, 772-775. McGinnis, R. (1958). Campus values in mate selection: A repeat study. Social Forces, 35, 368-373. Simmons, L.W., Rhodes, G., Peters, M., & Koehler, N. (2004). Are human preferences for facial symmetry focused on signals of developmental instability? Behavioral Ecology, 15, 864. Sprecher, S. (1989). The importance to males and females of physical attractiveness, earning potential and expressiveness in initial attraction. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 21, 591- 607. Sprecher, S., Sullivan, Q., & Hatfield, E. (1994). ...read more.

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