Sex Differences in Mate Preferences: a Replication Study, 20 Years Later

Jens Bech-Sørensen, Thomas Pollet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Evolutionary psychologists have argued for evolved sex differences in human mate preferences (e.g., (Buss and Barnes Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 50,559–570, 1986; Buss American Scientist 73,47–51, 1985, Behavioral and Brain Sciences 12, 1–49, 1989, 1994). Specifically, they have suggested that men and women place different values on physical appearance, fertility, and economic stability when they choose a long-term partner (e.g., Miller 2000; Buss and Schmitt Psychological Review 100, 204–232, 1993; Fisman et al. 2006; Sprecher et al. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 66, 1074–1080, 1994). In this short report, we replicated a seminal study that investigated preferences for potential marriage partners (Sprecher et al. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 66, 1074–1080, 1994) to assess if sex differences in mate preferences may have converged over time due to social change via a crowd-sourced sample (n = 522). The replication was largely successful and, thus, suggests stable sex differences in long-term mate preferences in line with an evolutionary framework. However, we also found evidence for narrowed sex differences for preferences with regard to ethnicity and education. Interestingly, while the original study found no sex difference in the preference for marrying the previously married, the current study showed that women were slightly more inclined than men to prefer a previously married partner. Therefore, these findings also suggest that social change and societal norms could make long-term mate preferences flexible and influence how they develop over time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-176
JournalEvolutionary Psychological Science
Volume2
Issue number3
Early online date18 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016

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