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Ethology. 1997 Aug;103(8):681-99.

Resources, attractiveness, family commitment; reproductive decisions in human mate choice.



This study of reproductive decisions in human mate selection used data from "lonely hearts" advertisements to examine a series of predictions based on the mate preferences of male and females relating to age; physical appearance; financial condition and socioeconomic status; family commitment and personal traits; short- and long-term mating; and marital status and preexisting children. The sample consisted of 1000 personal advertisements (500 male) placed in two daily, national papers between February and October 1994 in Hungary. The research procedure included a pilot study of 150 advertisers (75 male) to refine the categories examined. Analysis was performed using 1) a matrix with one axis referring to offers and the other to demands of males and females separately; 2) a matrix of offers only to derive correlated traits of claims by males and females; and 3) a matrix with columns describing sex, offers, demands, advertiser's age, and required age and a row for each of the 1000 samples. It was found that men preferred younger mates, while women preferred older ones. Men were more likely to seek physical attractiveness, while women were more likely to seek financial resources (ranked 7th) and high status (ranked 6th). Women strongly preferred male domestic virtue and family commitment, and twice as many women as men demanded long-term relationships. Women more frequently declared preexisting children, and men exhibited a reluctance to accept these children. Both males and females employed "trade-off" strategies, making greater demands if they felt they had attractive offers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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