Monday, June 29, 2009

You Say Potato, I Say Tomato

Hot off the press: Men and women have different opinions of what they find attractive in a potential (opposite-sex) mate.

Dustin Wood of Wake Forest University and Claudia Chloe Brumbaugh of Queens College wrote a paper for the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology based on interviews with 4,000 subjects who used a 10-point scale to rate the attractiveness of men and women in photographs they were shown.

United Press International distills their findings:

Most men agree on which women are hot, but some women can find a man attractive while others don't, U.S. researchers found....

Men's judgments of women's attractiveness were based primarily on physical features and they rated highly those who looked thin and seductive. Most of the men in the study also rated photographs of women who looked confident as more attractive.

The study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that as a group, the women rating men showed some preference for thin, muscular subjects, but disagreed on how attractive many men in the study were. Some women gave high attractiveness ratings to the men, while other women said they were not attractive at all.
If UPI isn't clear enough, here's the abstract from volume 96, issue 6 of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (June 2009):
In this article the authors illustrate how revealed preferences (i.e., preferences inferred through an individual’s differential attraction to multiple targets) can be used to investigate the nature of mate preferences. The authors describe how revealed preferences can be estimated and how the reliability of these estimates can be established. Revealed preference estimates were used to explore the level of consensus in judgments of who is and is not attractive and whether revealed preferences are systematically related to self-reported mate preferences and personality traits. Revealed preference estimates were created for over 4,000 participants by examining their attraction to 98 photographs. Participants of both genders showed substantial consensus in judgments of whom they found attractive and unattractive, although men showed higher consensus than women. Revealed preference estimates also showed relationships with corresponding self-rated preferences and with other dispositional characteristics such as personality traits and age. Although the findings demonstrate the existence of meaningful individual differences in preferences, they also indicate an important role for consensual preferences in mate selection processes.
That clarifying summation should make it easier to talk about it at the bar tonight, as you're comparing comely lads and lasses with your friends.

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