Cookies Policy
X

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Female mate preference varies with age and environmental conditions

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Behaviour

Sexual selection and mate choice are dynamic processes that can be influenced by a variety of environmental and social factors, which have been well studied in a range of taxa. However, in humans, the environmental factors that influence regional variation in preference for mate attributes remain poorly understood. In addition, underlying variation based on individual age may strongly influence mate preferences. In this study, we examined written descriptions of preferred mates from the online dating profiles of 1111 women from 26 cities across Canada. We grouped the words describing preferred mates into four categories: resource holding potential, physical attractiveness, activities and interests, and emotional appeal. We then asked whether variation in environmental (sex ratio, population size and population density), economic (population income) and individual factors (age) predicted variation in the relative importance of these four categories of female mate preference. Sex ratio was the best predictor of preference for the physical attractiveness and the activities and interests of potential mates, with women in male-biased cities placing more emphasis on physical attractiveness and less emphasis on activities and interests. Age was the best predictor of preference for resource holding potential, with younger individuals placing more emphasis on this trait. No factors were strong predictors of variation in preference for emotional appeal, perhaps because this trait was highly valued in all populations. This work supports a growing body of literature demonstrating that mate choice and mate preferences are often dynamic and can be influenced by individual and environmental variation.

Affiliations: 1: aDepartment of Biological Sciences, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC, Canada V2C 0C8; 2: bEnvironment Canada, 115 Perimeter Road, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 0X4

10.1163/1568539X-00003231
/content/journals/10.1163/1568539x-00003231
dcterms_title,pub_keyword,dcterms_description,pub_author
10
5
Loading
Loading

Full text loading...

/content/journals/10.1163/1568539x-00003231
Loading

Data & Media loading...

1. Anderson R.C. , Klofstad C.A. ( 2012). "For love or money? The influence of personal resources and environmental resource pressures on human mate preferences". — Ethology Vol 118: 841- 849. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0310.2012.02077.x
2. Bereczkei T. , Voros S. , Gal A. , Bernath L. ( 1997). "Resources, attractiveness, family commitment; reproductive decisions in human mate choice". — Ethology Vol 103: 681- 699. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0310.1997.tb00178.x
3. Berglund A. ( 1994). "The operational sex ratio influences choosiness in a pipefish". — Behav. Ecol. Vol 5: 254- 258. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/beheco/5.3.254
4. Botero C.A. , Rubenstein D.R. ( 2012). "Fluctuating environments, sexual selection and the evolution of flexible mate choice in birds". — PLoS ONE Vol 7: e32311. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0032311
5. Burnham K.P. , Anderson D.R. ( 2002). Model selection and multimodel inference: a practical information-theoretic approach, 2nd edn.Springer, New York, NY.
6. Buss D.M. ( 1989). "Sex differences in human mate preferences: evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures". — Behav. Brain Sci. Vol 12: 1- 49. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X00023992
7. Buunk D.P. , Dijkstra P. , Fetchenhauer D. , Kendrick D.T. ( 2002). "Age and gender differences in mate selection criteria for various involvement levels". — Pers. Relat. Vol 9: 271- 278. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1475-6811.00018
8. Cameron C. , Oskamp S. , Sparks W. ( 1977). "Courtship American style: newspaper ads". — Fam. Coord. Vol 26: 27- 30. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/581857
9. Candolin U. , Salesto T. , Evers M. ( 2007). "Changed environmental conditions weaken sexual selection in sticklebacks". — J. Evol. Biol. Vol 20: 233- 239. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1420-9101.2006.01207.x
10. Casalini M. , Reichard M. , Smith C. ( 2010). "The effect of crowding and density on male mating behaviour in the rose bitterling ( Rhodeus ocellatus)". — Behaviour Vol 147: 1035- 1050. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/000579510X504879
11. Cornwallis C. , Uller T. ( 2009). "Towards and evolutionary ecology of sexual traits". — Trends Ecol. Evol. Vol 25: 145- 152. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2009.09.008
12. Deaux K. , Hanna R. ( 1984). "Courtship in the personals column: the influence of gender and sexual orientation". — Sex Roles Vol 11: 363- 375. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00287465
13. DeBruine L.M. , Jones B.C. , Crawford J.R. , Welling L.L.M. , Little A.C. ( 2010). "The health of a nation predicts their mate preferences: cross-cultural variation in women’s preferences for masculinized male faces". — Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B: Biol. Sci. Vol 277: 2405- 2410. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2009.2184
14. Dreiss A.N. , Cote J. , Richard M. , Federici P. , Clobert J. ( 2010). "Age- and sex-specific response to population density and sex ratio". — Behav. Ecol. Vol 21: 356- 364. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arp198
15. Eckert C.G. , Weatherhead P.J. ( 1987). "Competition for territories in red-winged blackbirds: is resource-holding potential realized?"— Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. Vol 20: 369- 375. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00300683
16. Emlen S.T. , Oring L.W. ( 1977). "Ecology, sexual selection, and the evolution of mating systems". — Science Vol 197: 215- 223. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.327542
17. Endler J.A. ( 1980). "Natural selection on color patterns in Poecilia reticulata ". — Evolution Vol 34: 76- 91. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2408316
18. Endler J.A. ( 1983). "Natural and sexual selection on color patterns in Poeciliid fishes". — Environ. Biol. Fish. Vol 9: 173- 190. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00690861
19. Eshel I. ( 1979). "Sexual selection, population density, and availability of mates". — Theor. Popul. Biol. Vol 16: 301- 314. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0040-5809(79)90019-4
20. Gangestad S.W. , Buss D.M. ( 1993). "Pathogen prevalence and human mate preferences". — Ethol. Sociobiol. Vol 14: 39- 54. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0162-3095(93)90009-7
21. Gangestad S.W. , Simpson J.A. ( 2000). "The evolution of human mating: trade-offs and strategic pluralism". — Behav. Brain Sci. Vol 23: 573- 644. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X0000337X
22. Gibbs J.L. , Ellison N.B. , Heino R.D. ( 2006). "Self-presentation in online personals: the role of anticipated future interaction, self-disclosure, and perceived success in Internet dating". — Commun. Res. Vol 33: 152- 177. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0093650205285368
23. Gil-Burmann C. , Peláez F. , Sánchez S. ( 2002). "Mate choice differences according to sex and age". — Hum. Nature — Int. Bios. Vol 13: 493- 508. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12110-002-1005-6
24. Godin J.-G.J. , Briggs S.E. ( 1996). "Female mate choice under predation risk in the guppy". — Anim. Behav. Vol 51: 117- 130. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/anbe.1996.0010
25. Gordon D.M. ( 2011). "The fusion of behavioral ecology and ecology". — Behav. Ecol. Vol 22: 225- 230. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arq172
26. Government of Canada SC( 2007). Statistics Canada: 2006 Community Profiles. — Available online at .
27. Government of Canada SC( 2012). Statistics Canada: 2011 Census Profile. — Available online at .
28. Government of New Zealand( 2007). Statistics New Zealand: urban and rural dwellers’ reasons for moving. — Available online at .
29. Gray S.M. , Dill L.M. , Tantu F.Y. , Loew E.R. , Herder F. , McKinnon J.S. ( 2008). "Environment-contingent sexual selection in a color polymorphic fish". — Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B: Biol. Sci. Vol 275: 1785- 1791. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2008.0283
30. Greenlees I.A. , McGrew W.C. ( 1994). "Sex and age differences in preferences and tactics of mate attraction: analysis of published advertisements". — Ethol. Sociobiol. Vol 15: 59- 72. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0162-3095(94)90017-5
31. Grether G.F. , Kolluru G.R. , Rodd F.H. , De La Cerda J. , Shimazaki K. ( 2005). "Carotenoid availability affects the development of a colour-based mate preference and the sensory bias to which it is genetically linked". — Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B: Biol. Sci. Vol 272: 2181- 2188. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2005.3197
32. Hill S.E. , Reeve H.K. ( 2004). "Mating games: the evolution of human mating transactions". — Behav. Ecol. Vol 16: 398- 402. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/beheco/ari001
33. Hitsch G.J. , Hortacsu A. , Ariely D. ( 2010). "What makes you click? — mate preferences in online dating". — Quant. Mark. Econ. Vol 8: 393- 427. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11129-010-9088-6
34. Houde A.E. ( 1997). Sex, color, and mate choice in guppies. — Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
35. Jann P. , Blanckenhorn W.U. , Ward P.I. ( 2000). "Temporal and microspatial variation in the intensities of natural and sexual selection in the yellow dung fly Scanthophaga stercoraria ". — J. Evol. Biol. Vol 13: 927- 938. http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1420-9101.2000.00230.x
36. Jennions M.D. , Petrie M. ( 1997). "Variation in mate choice and mating preferences: a review of causes and consequences". — Biol. Rev. Camb. Philos. Vol 72: 283- 327. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0006323196005014
37. Jirotkul M. ( 1999a). "Population density influences male–male competition in guppies". — Anim. Behav. Vol 58: 1169- 1175. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/anbe.1999.1248
38. Jirotkul M. ( 1999b). "Operational sex ratio influences female preference and male–male competition in guppies". — Anim. Behav. Vol 58: 287- 294. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/anbe.1999.1149
39. Johnstone R.A. ( 1995). "Sexual selection, honest advertisement and the handicap principle — reviewing the evidence". — Biol. Rev. Camb. Philos. Vol 70: 1- 65. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-185X.1995.tb01439.x
40. Kelly C.D. ( 2008). "The interrelationships between resource-holding potential, resource-value and reproductive success in territorial males: how much variation can we explain?"— Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. Vol 62: 855- 871. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00265-007-0518-8
41. Kenrick D.T. , Keefe R.C. ( 1992). "Age preferences in mates reflect sex differences in reproductive strategies". — Behav. Brain Sci. Vol 15: 75- 133. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X00067595
42. Klofstadt C.A. , McDermott R. , Hatemi P.K. ( 2011). "Do bedroom eyes wear political glasses? The role of politics in human mate attraction". — Evol. Hum. Behav. Vol 33: 100- 108. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2011.06.002
43. Kokko H. , Rankin D.J. ( 2006). "Lonely hearts or sex in the city? Density-dependent effects in mating systems". — Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. B Vol 361: 319- 334. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2005.1784
44. Koskimäki J. , Rantala M.J. , Taskinen J. , Tynkkynen K. , Suhonen J. ( 2004). "Immunocompetence and resource holding potential in the damselfly, Calopteryx virgoL."— Behav. Ecol. Vol 15: 169- 173. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arg088
45. Lee A.J. , Zietsch B.P. ( 2011). "Experimental evidence that women’s mate preferences are directly influenced by cues of pathogen prevalence and resource scarcity". — Biol. Lett. Vol 7: 892- 895. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2011.0454
46. Little A.C. , Burt D.M. , Penton-Voak I.S. , Perrett D.I. ( 2001). "Self-perceived attractiveness influences human female preferences for sexual dimorphism and symmetry in male faces". — Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B: Biol. Sci. Vol 268: 39- 44. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2000.1327
47. Little A.C. , Cohen D.L. , Jones B.C. , Belsky J. ( 2007). "Human preferences for facial masculinity change with relationship type and environmental harshness". — Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. Vol 61: 967- 973. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00265-006-0325-7
48. Madden M. , Lenhart A. ( 2006). Online dating. Pew internet and American life project. — Available online at .
49. Mautz B.S. , Wong B.B.M. , Peters R.A. , Jennions M.D. ( 2013). "Penis size interacts with body shape and height to influence male attractiveness". — Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA Vol 110: 6925- 6930. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1219361110
50. McGraw K.J. ( 2002). "Environmental predictors of geographic variation in human mating preferences". — Ethology Vol 108: 303- 317. http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1439-0310.2002.00757.x
51. Moore F.R. , Cassidy C. ( 2007). "Female status predicts mate preferences across non-industrial societies". — Cross-Cult. Res. Vol 41: 66- 74. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1069397106294860
52. Moore F.R. , Cassidy C. , Smith J.J.L. , Perrett D.I. ( 2006). "The effects of female control of resources on sex-differentiated mate preferences". — Evol. Hum. Behav. Vol 27: 193- 205. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2005.08.003
53. Morgan E.M. , Richards T.C. , VanNess E.M. ( 2010). "Comparing narratives of personal and preferred partner characteristics in online dating advertisements". — Comput. Hum. Behav. Vol 26: 883- 888. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2010.02.002
54. Pawlowski B. , Dunbar R.I.M. ( 1999). "Withholding age as putative deception in mate search tactics". — Evol. Hum. Behav. Vol 20: 73553- 73569. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1090-5138(98)00038-5
55. Pawlowski B. , Koziel S. ( 2002). "The impact of traits offered in personal advertisements on response rates". — Evol. Hum. Behav. Vol 23: 139- 149. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1090-5138(01)00092-7
56. Petrie M. , Kempenaers B. ( 1998). "Extra-pair paternity in birds: explaining variation between species and populations". — Trends Ecol. Evol. Vol 13: 52- 58. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0169-5347(97)01232-9
57. Punzalan D. , Rodd F.H. , Rowe L. ( 2010). "Temporally variable multivariate sexual selection on sexually dimorphic traits in a wild insect population". — Am. Nat. Vol 175: 401- 414. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/650719
58. Puts D.A. , Jones B.C. , DeBruine L.M. ( 2012). "Sexual selection on human faces and voices". — Annu. Rev. Sex Res. Vol 49: 227- 243.
59. Qvarnstrom A. , Forsgren E. ( 1998). "Should females prefer dominant males?"— Trends Ecol. Evol. Vol 13: 498- 501. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0169-5347(98)01513-4
60. R Core Team( 2013). R: a language and environment for statistical computing. — R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna. Available online at .
61. Rebar D. , Rodriguez R.L. ( 2013). "Genetic variation in social influence on mate preferences". — Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B: Biol. Sci. Vol 280: 1471- 2954. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2013.0803
62. Robinson M.R. , Pilkington J.G. , Clutton-Brock T.H. , Pemberton J.M. , Kruuk L. ( 2008). "Environmental heterogeneity generates fluctuating selection on a secondary sexual trait". — Curr. Biol. Vol 18: 751- 757. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2008.04.059
63. Rudzitis G. ( 1999). "Amenities increasingly draw people to the rural West". — Rur. Dev. Perspect. Vol 14: 9- 13.
64. Schwarz S. , Hassebrauck M. ( 2012). "Sex and age differences in mate-selection preferences". — Hum. Nat. Vol 23: 447- 466. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12110-012-9152-x
65. Sear R. , Marlowe F.W. ( 2009). "How universal are human mate choices? Size does not matter when Hadza foragers are choosing a mate". — Biol. Lett. Vol 5: 606- 609. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2009.0342
66. Singh D. ( 1995a). "Female judgment of male attractiveness and desirability for relationships: role of waist-to-hip ratio and financial status". — J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. Vol 69: 1089- 1101. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.69.6.1089
67. Singh D. ( 1995b). "Female health, attractiveness, and desirability for relationships: role of breast asymmetry and waist-to-hip ratio". — Ethol. Sociobiol. Vol 16: 465- 481. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0162-3095(95)00073-9
68. Slabbekoorn H. , Smith T.B. ( 2002). "Habitat-dependent song divergence in the little greenbul: an analysis of environmental selection pressures on acoustic signals". — Evolution Vol 56: 1849- 1858. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0014-3820.2002.tb00199.x
69. Stone E.A. , Shackelford T.K. , Buss D.M. ( 2007). "Sex ratio and mate preferences: a cross-cultural investigation". — Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. Vol 37: 288- 296. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.357
70. Taff C.C. , Freeman-Gallant C.R. , Dunn P.O. , Whittingham L.A. ( 2013). "Spatial distribution of nests constrains the strength of sexual selection in a warbler". — J. Evol. Biol. Vol 26: 1392- 1405. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jeb.12141
71. Toma C.L. , Hancock J.T. ( 2010). "Looks and lies: the role of physical attractiveness in online dating self-presentation and deception". — Commun. Res. Vol 37: 335- 351. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0093650209356437
72. Valkenburg P.M. , Peter J. ( 2007). "Who visits online dating sites? Exploring some characteristics of online daters". — Cyberpsychol. Behav. Vol 10: 849- 852. http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/cpb.2007.9941
73. Valliant N. ( 2006). "Sex differences in stipulated preferences and mate search by clients of a French marriage bureau". — Psychol. Rep. Vol 98: 285- 290. http://dx.doi.org/10.2466/pr0.98.1.285-290
74. Vitousek M.N. ( 2009). "Investment in mate choice depends on resource availability in female Galápagos marine iguanas ( Amblyrhynchus cristatus)". — Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. Vol 64: 105- 113. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00265-009-0825-3
75. Waynforth D. , Dunbar R.I.M. ( 1995). "Conditional mate choice strategies in humans: evidence from “lonely hearts” advertisements". — Behaviour Vol 132: 755- 779. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/156853995X00135
76. Wiederman M.W. ( 1993). "Evolved gender differences in mate preferences: evidence from personal advertisements". — Ethol. Sociobiol. Vol 14: 331- 352. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0162-3095(93)90003-Z
77. Wood W.E. , Yezerinac S.M. , Dufty J. ( 2006). "Song sparrow ( Melospiza melodia) song varies with urban noise". — Auk Vol 123: 650- 659. http://dx.doi.org/10.1642/0004-8038(2006)123[650:SSMMSV]2.0.CO;2
http://brill.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1163/1568539x-00003231
Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1163/1568539x-00003231
2014-10-29
2018-09-23

Sign-in

Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
     
    Behaviour — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation