Unique or Hot? You’ll Never Guess What Singles Want More

Hayley Matthews

Written by: Hayley Matthews

Hayley Matthews

Hayley has over 10 years of experience overseeing content strategy, social media engagement, and article opportunities. She has also written hundreds of informational and entertaining blog posts. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Bustle, Cosmo, the Huffington Post, AskMen, and Entrepreneur. When she's not writing about dating news, relationship advice, or her fantasy love affair with Leonardo DiCaprio, she enjoys listening to The Beatles, watching Harry Potter reruns, and drinking IPAs.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

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How we judge the attractiveness of a potential romantic partner is often broken into categories of beauty, charisma and success.

However, new research suggests there may be room for a fourth pillar:


In an effort to understand how powerful being unique is in determining mate value, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin recruited 129 undergraduate students from relatively small-sized classes.

How the students rated one another’s attractiveness was charted from the beginning of the study until the end.

While a clear consensus could be seen at the top of the study about who’s hot and who’s not, those results were seen to fluctuate considerably after three months together – or once the students were given the chance to interact and form opinions of one another.

“Uniqueness dominated all others

qualities when rating mate value.”

By the conclusion of the research

Uniqueness dominated all others qualities when rating mate value, including warmth, vitality, attractiveness and potential for success.

According to the study’s authors, earlier research has established men and women will essentially reach a shared consensus (to a certain degree) on how attractive a person is.

A high mate value rating might indicate someone is physically attractive, successful and charming. A medium rating might indicate someone with only two of the attributes, while someone with only one or none of the attributes might be rated as low.

However, uniqueness over time was seen to commonly throw a monkey wrench into the ranking system, seriously offsetting how a person is judged.

Paul Eastwick

Paul Eastwick
University of Texas at Austin

“The vast majority of us get to know our romantic partners slowly, gradually, over time,” write study authors Paul Eastwick and Lucy Hunt. “All you need is for others to have the patience to get to know you, and a more level playing field should follow.”

The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

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