Big two personality and big three mate preferences: similarity attracts, but country-level mate preferences crucially matter.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

People differ regarding their "Big Three" mate preferences of attractiveness, status, and interpersonal warmth. We explain these differences by linking them to the "Big Two" personality dimensions of agency/competence and communion/warmth. The similarity-attracts hypothesis predicts that people high in agency prefer attractiveness and status in mates, whereas those high in communion prefer warmth. However, these effects may be moderated by agentics' tendency to contrast from ambient culture, and communals' tendency to assimilate to ambient culture. Attending to such agentic-cultural-contrast and communal-cultural-assimilation crucially qualifies the similarity-attracts hypothesis. Data from 187,957 online-daters across 11 countries supported this model for each of the Big Three. For example, agentics-more so than communals-preferred attractiveness, but this similarity-attracts effect virtually vanished in attractiveness-valuing countries. This research may reconcile inconsistencies in the literature while utilizing nonhypothetical and consequential mate preference reports that, for the first time, were directly linked to mate choice.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gebauer, JE; Leary, MR; Neberich, W

Published Date

  • December 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 38 / 12

Start / End Page

  • 1579 - 1593

PubMed ID

  • 22956293

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-7433

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0146-1672

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0146167212456300


  • eng