Effects of potential partners' costume and physical attractiveness on sexuality and partner selection

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Male and female college students in the United States (N = 224) viewed models who had been prerated for physical attractiveness and who were dressed in costumes representing one of three levels of socioeconomic status (SES). Subjects reported their willingness to engage with these stimulus persons in six relationships involving various levels of marital potential and sexual involvement. Models' costume status had greater effects on female subjects' willingness than on male subjects' willingness to enter all six relationships. This difference was larger when the physical attractiveness of models was low than when it was high. Costume status also affected female subjects' ratings of male models' attractiveness but did not affect male subjects' ratings of female models' attractiveness. Results supported eight hypotheses derived from evolutionary theory: In choosing partners, men and women weighed potential partners' SES and physical attractiveness differently, and these factors may have different behavioral implications depending on the degree to which sexual relations, or marital potential, or both, are involved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-389
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Education
  • General Psychology


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