Are the Traits We Prefer in Potential Mates the Traits We Value in Ourselves?

When evaluating potential mates, men place greater importance on youth and beauty, whereas women place more importance on status and resources. Six studies tested the hypothesis that the self-concepts of men and women reflect the preferences of potential mates. Studies 1-3 showed that traits related to status were an important aspect of men’s self-concepts, whereas traits related to physical attractiveness were an important aspect of women’s self-concepts. Studies 4-6 found that men were more upset when derogated by rivals on traits related to status, whereas women were more upset when derogated on their physical attractiveness, suggesting that status and attractiveness are integral parts of men’s and women’s self-concepts respectively. The importance of the self-concept in human mating is discussed.

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