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Psychol Bull. 1992 Jul;112(1):125-39.

Gender differences in mate selection preferences: a test of the parental investment model.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520.


Evolutionary-related hypotheses about gender differences in mate selection preferences were derived from Triver's parental investment model, which contends that women are more likely than men to seek a mate who possesses nonphysical characteristics that maximize the survival or reproductive prospects of their offspring, and were examined in a meta-analysis of mate selection research (questionnaire studies, analyses of personal advertisements). As predicted, women accorded more weight than men to socioeconomic status, ambitiousness, character, and intelligence, and the largest gender differences were observed for cues to resource acquisition (status, ambitiousness). Also as predicted, gender differences were not found in preferences for characteristics unrelated to progeny survival (sense of humor, "personality"). Where valid comparisons could be made, the findings were generally invariant across generations, cultures, and research paradigms.

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