Personality vs physical attractiveness in dating
The discrepancy between the experimental results and the subjects' perceptions of how the factors affected their attraction were interpreted to indicate that people may not be aware of what attracts them to another and may use “implicit causal theories” provided by the culture to explain their attraction responses.
An earlier draft of this paper was presented at the Second Iowa/International Network Conference on Personal Relationships, Iowa City, May 1989.
Gender differences, however, did emerge in the subjects' estimates of the effects of these characteristics on their attraction.
Consistent with sex role stereotypes, males placed greater emphasis than females on physical attractiveness, and females placed greater emphasis than males on earning potential and expressiveness.
Even when unattractive men possessed the most desirable traits, the woman and their mothers rarely rated them as good dating partners.
Both women and their mothers preferred the attractive and moderately attractive men to the unattractive man.We experimentally manipulated the physical attractiveness and trait profiles of male targets and examined the effect of those variables on dating desirability to women and their mothers (mothers rated the men as potential partners for their daughters).We found that both women and their mothers preferred the moderately attractive and attractive men, especially when they were paired with the most favorable trait profiles.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.
In the study, 335 college students watched videos of potential romantic partners of the opposite sex talking about themselves.