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ate preferences in humans refers to why one human chooses or chooses not to mate with another human and their reasoning why (see: Evolutionary Psychology, mating). Men and women have been observed having different criteria as what makes a good or ideal mate (gender differences). A potential mate's socioeconomic status has also been seen as having a noticeable effect, especially in developing areas where social status is more emphasized.
Gender Differences[edit | edit source]
Several studies have shown that females are more selective of their mates than males are, with men requiring less time to consent to sexual behavior than women, as well as having a greater desire for short-term relationships and wanting a higher number of sexual partners in their lifetime  The difference between short-term and long-term relationships can change how an individual pursues a mate. For instance, when searching for a long-term mate, women often tend to place a heavier emphasis on resources and if their mate can provide well enough for her and potential family. However in short-term situations, a potential mate's physical condition is weighed more, because it is a good indicator if they have desirable heritable genes
Predictors for long term relationship success[edit | edit source]
In a study conducted by Shackleford, Schmitt, & Buss (2005), four dimensions were found that seem to predict how compatible two people are in what they're looking for in a long-term relationship. The survey was given to over 9,800 people from 37 different cultures across 6 continents and 5 islands. The four dimensions are as follows:
- Love vs. Status/Resources—trade-off between a loving relationship and a partner with adequate resources and status
- Dependable/Stable vs. Good Looks/Health—trade-off between choosing an emotionally stable partner and one that is physically attractive
- Education/Intelligence vs. Desire for Home/Children—trade-off between educational factors and a range of family matters like wanting of kids and chastity
- Sociability vs. Similar Religion—trade-off between a partner who is sociable and a partner that is religiously similar or compatible.
The four dimensions found imply that males and females weigh how important they view the two sides of each dimension to them in a long term relationship. In the dimension of Love vs. Status/Resources, the higher a person scores on that scale, more emphasis they place on Love and less on Status/Resources. A common example of this would be the concept of extraversion and introversion; if a person ranks high on extraversion, they're considered extraverts, but a person scoring low would be considered an introvert. Using this example, a high score would indicate Love as most important, and a low score would indicate Status/Resources as most important. This applies to the other three dimensions as well, with the first concept pairing being the higher-end of the spectrum and the second concept pairing being the lower-end. A positive or negative score only shows direction, not inherent value.
There were several gender differences observed in the study. For instance, men seemed to rate Love vs Status/Resources higher in importance in relation to women, meaning men place more of an emphasis on mutual love while women place more of an emphasis on Status/Resources. Women rated higher the other three dimensions in importance. A majority of cases saw women rate Dependable/Stable vs. Good Looks/Health higher, implying a stable personality is more desirable to women than a physically attractive mate. Education/Intelligence vs. Desire for Home/Children was also rated higher, showing that similar educational background and political views are more important than home life, and a small number of cases had women rank Sociability vs. Similar Religion higher (a pleasing disposition is more important than sharing religious beliefs).
In summation, universally men appear to value physical attractiveness, health, and a want for home life and children. Universally women appear to value maturity, dependability, education, social status and financial stability in their long term mates.
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Stone, Shackelford, & Buss (2008) Socioeconomic Development and Shifts in Mate Preferences. Evolutionary Psychology Vol. 6
- Schmitt, Shackelford, & Buss (2001) Are men really more 'oriented' toward short-term mating than women? A critical review of theory and research. Psychology, Evolution and Gender, Vol 3).
- Li, Valentine, & Patel (2010) Mate preferences in the US and Singapore: A cross-cultural test of the mate preference priority model. Personality and Individual Differences. Vol 50
- Kenrick, Groth, Trost, & Sadalla (1993) Integrating evolutionary and social exchange perspectives on relationships: Effects of gender, self-appraisal, and involvement level on mate selection criteria. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol 64
- Shackelford, Schmitt, & Buss (2005) Universal dimensions of human mate preferences; Personality and Individual Differences 39