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Human mate selection

By David M. Buss and Michael Barnes

Abstract

In this article we examine preferences in mate choice within the broader context of the human mating system. Specifically, we discuss the consequences of mate preferences for the processes of assortative mating and sexual selection. In Study 1 (N = 184) we document (a) the mate characteristics that are consensually more and less desired, (b) the mate characteristics that show strong sex differences in their preferred value, (c) the degree to which married couples are correlated in selection preferences, and (d) the relations between expressed preferences and the personality and background characteristics of obtained spouses. In Study 2 (N = 100) we replicated the sex differences and consensual ordering of mate preferences found in Study I, using a different methodology and a differently composed sample. Lastly, we present alternative hypotheses to account for the replicated sex differences in preferences for attractiveness and earning potential. Neither men nor women prefer all members of the opposite sex equally. Some are favored over others, and one important research task is to identify the characteristics that prospective mates consider to be important. Although mate choice is clearly a crucial adult decision for more than 90 % of the population (Price & Vandenberg, 1980), surprisingly little is known about the characteristics that men and women seek in potential mates (Thiessen & Gregg, 1980). In this article we develop a conception of the role of mate preferences within the human mating system. Specifically, we address the consequences for sexual selection and assortative mating. In two empirical studies we document several basic features of this conception

Publisher: American
Year: 1985
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.321.2372
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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