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Campus values in mate selection

Author(s): Hill R

Abstract

This study aimed to investigate the effect of social comparison on self-perception and mate preferences. For this purpose, 225 undergraduate student participants provided their self-perception before and after evaluating descriptions of stimuli subjects specifically developed with high or low levels of physical, social and status related attributes. Participants also provided a description of their ideal short- and long-term partner. We hypothesized that self-evaluations and mate preferences change in response to exposure to competitors with different levels of reproductively relevant attributes. Results indicated that individuals were aware of the characteristics valued by the opposite-gender in the mating market and that self-evaluation was affected by the attributes of other people. No effect of social comparison on mate preferences was observed. These findings advance our understanding of the mate selection process by contributing more evidence that one’s own perceptions of mate value seem to be affected by the values of other individuals. Attention to the reproductively relevant attributes of others can help individuals optimize the time and energy invested in mate selection and determine the mating tactic most appropriate to a specific social environment.

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