The Impact of Methodology on Mate Preference Measurement

Dujmovic, Iva (2014). The Impact of Methodology on Mate Preference Measurement Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Dujmovic, Iva
Thesis Title The Impact of Methodology on Mate Preference Measurement
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2014-10-08
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Brendan Zietsch
Total pages 72
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Mate preferences have been found to be pivotal in impacting the direction of sexual selection, reflecting historical selection pressures and creating new selective pressures on other aspects of human mating (Buss, 1989). Consequently, they have become a topic of interest amongst researchers. Currently data is largely collected by means of online dating profiles and speed-dating experiments, and, regardless of measurement method, findings are then generalised to broader populations. This study aimed to evaluate whether different measurement methods yield divergent results. This was achieved by analysing the associations between overall attractiveness and physical attractiveness, earning potential, intelligence and kindness. University students (N = 184) were recruited to participate in a controlled speed-dating experiment where they were rated on the four aforementioned traits. This acted as the first condition. Additionally, their photos were taken and used in simulated online dating profiles which were rated by m-Turk users online (N = 430) on the same four traits. For the purposes of the online dating profiles, two conditions were created: one using Passport style photos, and another using the participants’ actual Facebook photos. Results obtained through multi-level modelling confirmed that the association between traits and overall attractiveness would differ across the three conditions. Specifically, participants’ revealed preferences for intelligence were significantly different in the Facebook and Passport conditions compared to the Speeddating condition. Revealed preferences for kindness differed significantly between the Speed-dating and Facebook conditions, but only for females, and revealed preferences for earning potential differed significantly between the Speed-dating and Facebook conditions, but only for males. No differences emerged for physical attractiveness. The discrepancy in results between conditions has implications in the field of Evolutionary Psychology in that researchers should take caution when generalising their findings.
Keyword Mate preference
Evolutionary psychology
Sexual selection

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Created: Wed, 10 Jun 2015, 14:46:21 EST by Louise Grainger on behalf of School of Psychology