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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2015 Jun;41(6):755-68. doi: 10.1177/0146167215577366. Epub 2015 Mar 24.

A critical test of the assumption that men prefer conformist women and women prefer nonconformist men.

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The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Australia
The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Australia.
The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Australia Griffith University, Mount Gravatt, Australia.


Five studies tested the common assumption that women prefer nonconformist men as romantic partners, whereas men prefer conformist women. Studies 1 and 2 showed that both men and women preferred nonconformist romantic partners, but women overestimated the extent to which men prefer conformist partners. In Study 3, participants ostensibly in a small-group interaction showed preferences for nonconformist opposite-sex targets, a pattern that was particularly evident when men evaluated women. Dating success was greater the more nonconformist the sample was (Study 4), and perceptions of nonconformity in an ex-partner were associated with greater love and attraction toward that partner (Study 5). On the minority of occasions in which effects were moderated by gender, it was in the reverse direction to the traditional wisdom: Conformity was more associated with dating success among men. The studies contradict the notion that men disproportionately prefer conformist women.


conformity; gender; interpersonal attraction; nonconformity; social role theory

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