Personality vs physical attractiveness in dating
However, of all the traits examined, physical attractiveness was the only trait that predicted romantic interest.Psy Post interviewed the study’s corresponding author, Sally G. Read her responses below: Olderbak: There are several ideas about what brings together romantic partners, like “birds of a feather flock together” or “opposites attract”, which just on the face value, cannot all be true.Physical attractiveness more strongly impacts our dating decisions than the traits we say are most important to us in a potential mate.Alternatively, when we say that traits such as respect or honesty are more important than physical attractiveness, we may assume that a potential mate will be at least moderately attractive.Gender differences, however, did emerge in the subjects' estimates of the effects of these characteristics on their attraction.Consistent with sex role stereotypes, males placed greater emphasis than females on physical attractiveness, and females placed greater emphasis than males on earning potential and expressiveness.
Contrary to sex role stereotypes, males and females were similarly affected by these partner characteristics.
However, neither women nor their mothers ever chose the unattractive target as the most desirable mate, even when he possessed the most favorable trait profile.
Our findings suggest that we may not accurately detect the traits which are most important to us in a mate (for ourselves or for our offspring).
Fugère: I got interested in the topic of parent/offspring agreement about desired characteristics for a mate for the offspring while researching my book, The Social Psychology of Attraction and Romantic Relationships.
Prior research on this topic has shown that men and women and their parents disagree about the importance of physical attractiveness in a mate for the offspring, with offspring rating attractiveness as more important than parents.