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Study Reports Men and Women Look for Different Aspects in a Partner

Update Date: Aug 26, 2013 12:12 PM EDT

When it comes to relationships, people tend to look for different things in their partners due to factors such as culture, upbringing and environment. Even though everyone has their own standards and desires, some aspects, such as honesty, stability and communication tend to be on everyone's list. Despite this, the stereotypes that men tend to focus on physical attractiveness while women look for emotional ties are constantly being played up in movies and shows. Now, according to a new study, these stereotypes might actually hold more truth than we would like to admit.

Previous studies had found evidence that even though men and women claimed that they want different things, in the end, they all look for the same aspects in their partners. These studies, categorized as speed-dating studies found that men and women placed a high value on physical attractiveness. In this study, researchers tweaked a few aspects of the traditional speed dating study by incorporating men and women with lower social statuses and lower physical attractiveness. The researchers, headed by Norman Li, an associate professor of psychology at Singapore Management University and Oliver Sng, a doctoral psychology student at Arizona State University, created several experiments that involved online chatting and other speed dating methods.

The researchers found that men tended to reject women who were categorized as having low physical attractiveness more so than women did. Men were more likely to report that they were less attracted to potential mates that were not attractive. Women, on the other hand, rejected men that had low social status and more likely to admit that they were not attracted to men with low social status.

"That is, 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. "We also are 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."

Even though this study revealed that not everyone wants the same things in a partner, the researchers acknowledged the fact that speed dating experiments are very limited. People's desires might not all be expressed in the initial meeting with potential mates. This study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

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