Effect of late familiarization on human mating preferences

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Department or Administrative Unit

Biological Sciences

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Male and female students were asked to select from groups of photographs projected on slides the individual preferred as a mate in a long‐term husband‐wife relationship. The students were later shown some of the same photographs several times to familiarize them with these individuals. The students were subsequently shown the same groups of photographs from which they initially indicated mating preferences and were again asked to indicate their preferences. When familiarization immediately preceded the final preference selections, both male and female students switched preferences and chose individuals with whom they had been familiarized approximately twice as often as they switched preferences and chose individuals with whom they had not been familiarized. When familiarization preceded the final preference selection by seven days, the frequency of switching and choosing the familiar type did not increase. These results and the possible evolutionary basis for the results are discussed.


This article was originally published in Social Biology. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Social Biology