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It turns out movies and television may have had it right all along, portraying men as more interested in physical beauty than women.
However, a new study reveals the accuracy of some longstanding stereotypes may not end there.
The research, which was led by Norman Li, an associate professor of psychology at Singapore Management University, and Oliver Sng, a doctoral psychology student at Arizona State University, was conducted using speed dates and online chats, wherein participants where later asked to rate their interest in prospective partners.
This study differed from earlier research by including men and women with different social standings and levels of physical attractiveness.
Men were found to reject women who were categorized as having low physical attractiveness more so than women did.
However, when it came to social standing, women returned the favor. They were more likely to dismiss a man based on his position in society.
“Men rejected women who were categorized
as having low physical attractiveness.”
Researchers found the way in which people ranked their preferences beforehand actually predicted the choices they made later.
“They prioritize different qualities when screening each other in online chats and speed dates – women want men who are at least average in social status while men want women who are at least moderately physically attractive,” Li said.
He added the research is “the first to demonstrate that what individuals say they value in potential mates is indeed reflected in how they actually choose them in initial mating situations.”
The results were consistent with earlier research by Li, also suggesting women prioritize a moderate social standing in a potential long-term partner while men prioritize physical attractiveness.
The study appeared in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.