Personality vs physical attractiveness in dating
The study, “The Importance of Physical Attractiveness to the Mate Choices of Women and Their Mothers“, was also co-authored by Caitlynn Chabot, Kaitlyn Doucette, and Alita J.
indicates that perceived personality traits play no role in romantic interest when first being introduced to someone.
The author would like to thank all of the following people for reading an earlier draft of the paper: Elaine Hatfield, Kathleen Mc Kinney, Sandra Metts, Glenn Reeder, and Eric Rice.
In the study, 80 women and their mothers were presented with photographs of three men: an attractive man, moderately attractive man, and unattractive man.
However, neither women nor their mothers ever chose the unattractive target as the most desirable mate, even when he possessed the most favorable trait profile.
Prior research on this topic has shown that men and women and their parents disagree about the importance of physical attractiveness in a mate for the offspring, with offspring rating attractiveness as more important than parents.
Each photograph was also paired with one of three personality profiles.
The women were asked “how attractive do you find this person” and “how favorably do you rate his personal description.” They were also asked to rate the person as a potential dating partner for themselves or their daughters.
Even when unattractive men possessed the most desirable traits, the woman and their mothers rarely rated them as good dating partners.
But while the women preferred the attractive man slightly more than the moderately attractive man, mothers preferred the moderately attractive man to the attractive man as a partner for their daughter.
The researchers found that physical attractiveness took priority over the personality traits.