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Int J Psychol. 2016 Oct;51(5):340-7. doi: 10.1002/ijop.12174. Epub 2015 Jun 1.

Resource availability hypothesis: Perceived financial and caloric status affect individuals' height preferences for potential partners.

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Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics (MOE & STCSM), School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.
Beijing Key Lab of Applied Experimental Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China.
School of Electronic Information Engineering, Shanghai Dianji University, Shanghai, China.


Height is an important concern in human mate choices. Prior research indicates that people who live in areas with abundant resources differ from those who live in areas with scarce resources regarding height preferences. Based on a health-maximizing principle, we propose a resource availability account for such differences. Compared with women's height preferences, men's height preferences are hypothesized to be more dependent on either financial or caloric resource availability. Specifically, taller females would be more preferred by males who are poor in resources than those who are rich in resources. Results from three studies supported these hypotheses. In Study 1, men from remote areas of China who had lower family income preferred taller women more than those from eastern China who had higher family income. In Study 2, men who were financially dissatisfied preferred taller women more than those who were financially satisfied. In Study 3, men with low caloric status preferred taller women more than men with high caloric status. In addition, women's height preferences in Studies 1, 2 and 3 were less determined by resource availability. These findings suggest that height preferences are changeable, depending on financial or caloric status.


Caloric status; Financial status; Health-maximizing principle; Height preferences; Resource availability

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