The necessities and luxuries of mate preferences: Testing the tradeoffs

Norman P. Li, Douglas T. Kenrick, J. Michael Bailey, Joan A.W. Linsenmeier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

512 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social exchange and evolutionary models of mate selection incorporate economic assumptions but have not considered a key distinction between necessities and luxuries. This distinction can clarify an apparent paradox: Status and attractiveness, though emphasized by many researchers, are not typically rated highly by research participants. Three studies supported the hypothesis that women and men first ensure sufficient levels of necessities in potential mates before considering many other characteristics rated as more important in prior surveys. In Studies 1 and 2, participants designed ideal long-term mates, purchasing various characteristics with 3 different budgets. Study 3 used a mate-screening paradigm and showed that people inquire 1st about hypothesized necessities. Physical attractiveness was a necessity to men, status and resources were necessities to women, and kindness and intelligence were necessities to both.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)947-955
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume82
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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