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Br J Soc Psychol. 2002 Sep;41(Pt 3):387-402.

A meta-analysis of sex differences in romantic attraction: do rating contexts moderate tactic effectiveness judgments?

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Bradley University, USA.


Although a number of studies have explored perceived sex differences in romantic attraction effectiveness, no research has systematically examined whether different rating contexts might moderate effectiveness judgments. In a meta-analytic review of romantic attraction research, four potential moderating variables were examined: temporal context (unspecified, long-term, short-term), manipulation form (self-promotion, competitor derogation), attraction type (general, retention, poaching), and sex of rater (mixed, same, opposite). Although perceived sex differences in physical appearance and resource-related tactics remained stable across most moderating variables, sex differences did vary across some rating contexts. For example, perceptions of sex differences in the effectiveness of appearance-related attraction tactics were much stronger in the context of self-promotion (d = -.77) compared with the competitor derogation context (d = -.17). Resource-related tactics of attraction displayed the opposite pattern, with significantly larger perceived sex differences in the context of competitor derogation (d =.93) than in self-promotion (d =.68). Discussion focused on the implications of sex difference variability and stability across rating contexts for evolutionary theories of romantic attraction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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