PY2- Buss, Sex differences In Human Mate preferences

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  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 05-05-11 19:08


Aim and Context

Charles Darwin suggested that traits advantageous to survival will be passed on to offspring and other less useful traits will die out, this is how evolution has apapted to increase chance of survival and reproduction. Traits that increase reproductive success will be selected and become more exaggerated over time, to increase chance of successful reproduction. Despite the importance of mate selection there is very little is known about which characteristics humans consider of importance when choosing that mate. However, there are 3 predictions on certain sex differences between genders.

1. Mate selection is based on parental investment, males make less investment in children whereas females have a large role in children therefore women will be choosier when picking a mate, making sure they can provide them with the resources they will need, this now adays would be classed as choosing a man with a status and who is financially secure.

2.Based on reproductive value and fertility, a young woman has a higher reproductive value than an older woman but a lower fertility. Youthfulness is an indication of both high reproductive value and fertility. Males are more likely to choose younger, attractive partners as they are most likely to produce offspring.

3.Based on paternity probability, In species where males invest, they will invest more in their own offspring than another mans and they make sure this is the case, sexual jealously is a way to increase this likelihood by fending off any potential competition. Another way to make sure offspring is most likely to be theirs is by looking for chastity in partner.

Cameron et al, found men tend to sell themselves on characteristics relating to status, whereas women mention appearance more often.

Harrison and saeed, found that women stressed the need for sincerity and genuineness and tended to prefer older men, whereas men sought attractive women younger than themselves.

Buss aimed to investigate if evolutionary explanations for sex differences in human mate preferences are found in different cultures with varying ethnicites, religious views and locations. Cross cultural studies offer an opportunity for testing evolutionary hypothesis because if they are all innate they shold be the same in all cultures.


Buss had a sample of 10,047 participants, 37 samples from 33 countries. The sample mean size was 272 and the mean age…


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