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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2015, Vol. 47 Issue (1) : 108-118     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.00108
The Influence of Facial Attractiveness and Personality Labels on Men and Women’s Mate Preference
WANG Yuqing1; YAO Pengfei2; ZHOU Guomei2
(1 School of Psychology, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an 710062, China) (2 Department of Psychology, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China)
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As a complex social, cultural and psychological phenomenon, mate selection has in recent years become a hot research topic in both psychology and sociology. Some studies have found that when it comes to mate selection, physical attractiveness of a romantic partner such as appearance, figure are more important to men than they are to women while ability, resources and personality of a romantic partner show an opposite pattern. However, this view has recently been challenged by researchers who propose that a partner’s physical attractiveness may be as important to women as it is to men (Eastwick, Eagly, Finkel, & Johnson, 2011; Eastwick & Finkel, 2008; Fisman, Iyengar, Kamenica, & Simonson, 2006). Choosing a lover is an important and complicated issue that deserves further study with experimental investigation. The present study manipulated the degree of face attractiveness and personality traits. We evaluated the partner choices made by both men and women. As for face attractiveness and personality traits, people think that beautiful people have more positive qualities, and their unique characteristics or qualities can get more favorable perception (Lorenzo, et al, 2010). On the other hand, people who have positive qualities are often judged as more beautiful (Gross, Crofton, 1977). To understand the influence of facial attractiveness and personality labels on men and women’s mate, we included the two independent variables in one experiment and examine their interactive effects on men and women's mate preferences. Chinese male faces and female faces along with Big-Five personality information materials were presented to 30 female students and 30 male students for rating of attractiveness and desirability as a lover (only for opposite-sex photos) .The results showed as that: (1) When seeing a photo of a beautiful opposite-sex face, men were more willing to have her as a lover than women. (2) Those people whose photos were labeled with positive personality were more likely chosen as lovers by women. (3) Compared with those labeled with negative personality, photos with positive personality were more likely to be chosen as lovers and such likelihood was clearly increased when the photos were more beautiful. (4) All five dimensions of Big-Five personalities influenced mate preferences of men and women, with the power gradually decreasing from conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness, emotional stability to extroversion. While women preferred extrovert men, whether or not women were extrovert had no effect on men’s mate preferences. These findings provide further evidence for understanding sex differences in mate selection.

Keywords facial attractiveness      Big-Five personality labels      sex differences      mate selection     
Corresponding Authors: ZHOU Guomei, E-mail:    
Issue Date: 26 January 2015
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WANG Yuqing; YAO Pengfei; ZHOU Guomei. The Influence of Facial Attractiveness and Personality Labels on Men and Women’s Mate Preference[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica,2015, 47(1): 108-118.
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