Which would you rank as most important in a romantic partner? Which is least important to you? Research consistently shows that we rank most or all of these traits as more important than good looks Apostolou, ; Apostolou, ; Buss et al.
However, consciously ranking traits as more or less important may not reflect the way we make our real-life dating and mating decisions. Louise told me that looks were not that important to her, but that a good sense of humor was a must.
Physical Attractiveness is More Important Than We Think Physical attractiveness may serve as a gatekeeper directing us toward partners who are healthy, age appropriate, and able to reproduce Weeden and Sabini, And when we make real-life dating and mating decisions, research indicates, physical appearance dominates: We choose to pursue relationships with those who are attractive to us see Luo and Zhang, ; Kurzban and Weeden, ; Thao et al.
Further, attractiveness tends to be a more important factor in our dating decisions than traits like personality , education , and intelligence Eastwick et al. Physical attractiveness may be so important to us because we associate other positive qualities with a pleasing appearance. For example, attractive individuals are expected to be happier and to have more rewarding life experiences than unattractive individuals Dion et al.
This tendency to associate attractiveness with positive qualities occurs crossculturally Shaffer et al. In Dion et al. To interest us, then, potential mates do not need to be exceptionally attractive, only moderately so. The distinction between necessities and luxuries Li et al. According to Li et al. But how attractive is "moderately" attractive? But no matter our personal level of attractiveness, or our partner's, as we get to know, like, and respect each other more, our attraction naturally grows and deepens Kniffin and Wilson, The longer we know each other, the less important physical attractiveness becomes to beginning and maintaining a long-term relationship Hunt et al.
Copyright Madeleine A. Parent—offspring conflict over mating: Domains of agreement and disagreement. Parent-offspring conflict over mating: Testing the tradeoffs hypothesis. A half century of mate preferences: The cultural evolution of values.
What is beautiful is good. Implicit and explicit preferences for physical attractiveness in a romantic partner: A double dissociation in predictive validity. Sex differences in mate preferences revisited: Do people know what they initially desire in a romantic partner?
A meta-analysis and theoretical critique. Psychological Bulletin, 2 , — Mis matching in physical attractiveness and women's resistance to mate guarding.
Stereotype directionality and attractiveness stereotyping: Is beauty good or is ugly bad? Mate preferences in action. Mate preferences in the US and Singapore: A cross-cultural test of the mate preference priority model. The preferred traits of mates in a cross-national study of heterosexual and homosexual men and women: An examination of biological and cultural influences. What leads to romantic attraction: Similarity, reciprocity, security, or beauty? Evidence from a speed-dating study.
The influence of objective physical attractiveness on mate selection. Parent-offspring convergence and divergence in mate preferences.
Physical attractiveness stereotyping in cross-cultural perspective: Similarities and differences between Americans and Taiwanese. The importance to males and females of physical attractiveness, earning potential, and expressiveness in initial attraction.
Effects of attractiveness and social status on dating desire in heterosexual adolescents: Physical attractiveness and health in Western societies: First impressions from faces among U.