In future research we hope to assess whether negative traits or unattractiveness plays a larger role in our dating decisions.Furthermore, we hope to extend this research to men and their parents as well.
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The researchers found that physical attractiveness took priority over the personality traits.
Both women and their mothers preferred the attractive and moderately attractive men to the unattractive man.
However, neither women nor their mothers ever chose the unattractive target as the most desirable mate, even when he possessed the most favorable trait profile.
Our findings suggest that we may not accurately detect the traits which are most important to us in a mate (for ourselves or for our offspring).
However, of all the traits examined, physical attractiveness was the only trait that predicted romantic interest.
Psy Post interviewed the study’s corresponding author, Sally G. Read her responses below: Olderbak: There are several ideas about what brings together romantic partners, like “birds of a feather flock together” or “opposites attract”, which just on the face value, cannot all be true.
The author would like to thank all of the following people for reading an earlier draft of the paper: Elaine Hatfield, Kathleen Mc Kinney, Sandra Metts, Glenn Reeder, and Eric Rice.
In the study, 80 women and their mothers were presented with photographs of three men: an attractive man, moderately attractive man, and unattractive man.
We experimentally manipulated the physical attractiveness and trait profiles of male targets and examined the effect of those variables on dating desirability to women and their mothers (mothers rated the men as potential partners for their daughters).