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J Sex Res. 2004 Feb;41(1):27-42.

Evolution of human mate choice.

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Department of Psychology, 210 McAlester Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211-2500, USA.


This article provides a review of evolutionary theory and empirical research on mate choices in nonhuman species and uses it as a frame for understanding the how and why of human mate choices. The basic principle is that the preferred mate choices and attendant social cognitions and behaviors of both women and men, and those of other species, have evolved to focus on and exploit the reproductive potential and reproductive investment of members of the opposite sex. Reproductive potential is defined as the genetic, material, and/or social resources an individual can invest in offspring, and reproductive investment is the actual use of these resources to enhance the physical and social well- being of offspring. Similarities and differences in the mate preferences and choices of women and men are reviewed and can be understood in terms of similarities and differences in the form of reproductive potential that women and men have to offer and their tendency to use this potential for the well-being of children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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