Human Nonindependent Mate Choice: Is Model Female Attractiveness Everything?



Vakirtzis A & Roberts SC (2012) Human Nonindependent Mate Choice: Is Model Female Attractiveness Everything?. Evolutionary Psychology, 10 (2), pp. 225-237.

Following two decades of research on non-human animals, there has recently been increased interest in human nonindependent mate choice, namely the ways in which choosing women incorporate information about a man's past or present romantic partners ('model females') into their own assessment of the male. Experimental studies using static facial images have generally found that men receive higher desirability ratings from female raters when presented with attractive (compared to unattractive) model females. This phenomenon has a straightforward evolutionary explanation: the fact that female mate value is more dependent on physical attractiveness compared to male mate value. Furthermore, due to assortative mating for attractiveness, men who are paired with attractive women are more likely to be of high mate value themselves. Here, we also examine the possible relevance of model female cues other than attractiveness (personality and behavioral traits) by presenting video recordings of model females to a set of female raters. The results confirm that the model female's attractiveness is the primary cue. Contrary to some earlier findings in the human and nonhuman literature, we found no evidence that female raters prefer partners of slightly older model females. We conclude by suggesting some promising variations on the present experimental design.

Nonindependent mate choice; model female; mate choice copying; mate quality bias; sociometer theory; facial attractiveness; personality differences

Evolutionary Psychology: Volume 10, Issue 2

Publication date30/04/2012

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Professor Craig Roberts

Professor Craig Roberts

Professor of Social Psychology, Psychology