Heterosexual romantic preferences : the importance of physical attractiveness and humour
Lundy, Duane Emerson
Master of Arts
SubjectSexual attraction (Psychological aspects)
Mate selection Psychological aspects
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Previous research on human mate preferences has found that individuals, especially males, regard physical attractiveness as a very important attribute in potential mates. In contrast, humour, which has also been found to be important, has received scant attention. This study looked at the effects of physical attractiveness and humour on the desire for future interaction in increasingly intimate heterosexual relationships. Physical attractiveness and humour were manipulated using photos of oppositesex stimulus persons and interview transcripts, respectively. Given that physical attractiveness has been associated with other desirable traits, and that humour may be associated with positive traits such as intelligence and social confidence, subjects' perceptions of the stimulus persons were also assessed through a person-perception questionnaire of socially desirable and undesirable personality traits. Males were found to emphasize high physical attractiveness more than females for sex, dating, and a serious relationship. Humorous individuals were rated as more desirable than nonhumorous individuals for a serious relationship and marriage, but only when these individuals were physically attractive; Physically attractive individuals were perceived to be more Virtuous (loyal, loving, sincere, passionate, and forgiving) than physically unattractive individuals, and humorous individuals were perceived to be less Ornery (humourless, noncheerful, prejudiced, narrowminded, cold, and hostile) than nonhumorous individuals.