Dating direct faqs
Our meta-analysis of 97 studies revealed no sex difference in the association of (a) attractiveness with romantic evaluations and (b) earning potential with romantic evaluations.
A small handful of one-off studies purport to find these sex differences.
If you have ever seen a speed-date (a real one, not this one), you will probably have seen two people discussing some pretty ordinary details about their lives (e.g., where they are from, what they do for a living and/or study).
They meander through these topics while trying to find something in common.
For the pattern metric, the answer is “yes, if people are evaluating a current romantic partner.” That is, to the extent that a current partner matches my pattern of ideals (regardless of level) across a variety of traits, I report more positive romantic evaluations about him/her.
But agreement on this point is not universal: Some scholars do not believe that attributes like attractiveness should exhibit sex differentiated effects on romantic evaluations (see here and here for our back and forth with David Schmitt on this issue).
Not as lyrically compelling, we grant, but psychologically fascinating (if not downright bizarre).
No, because our dependent variables are typically evaluations (e.g., “how much do you love your partner? So in effect, the disconnect that we document is between two self-reported evaluations: I might say I want an extraverted partner (i.e., I evaluate the trait extraverted positively when considering an ideal romantic partner), but I do not desire a specific partner more to the extent he or she is extraverted (i.e., extraversion is not a “driver of liking” for me). Conceptual critique #3: Mate choice is multi-determined.
Our meta-analysis involved tens of thousands of participants across a wide variety of paradigms.
However, there are reasons to think that these sex differences might emerge when people report on potential partners they have never met before (e.g., online dating website profiles).