March 23, 2005

Mate preferences

Personality and Individual Differences (Article in Press)

Universal dimensions of human mate preferences

Todd K. Shackelford et al.


To identify the universal dimensions of long-term mate preferences, we used an archival database of preference ratings provided by several thousand participants from three dozen cultures [Buss, D. M. (1989)]. Participants from each culture responded to the same 18-item measure. Statistical procedures ensured that ratings provided by men and women were weighted equally, and that ratings provided by participants from each culture were weighted equally. We identified four universal dimensions: Love vs. Status/Resources; Dependable/Stable vs. Good Looks/Health; Education/Intelligence vs. Desire for Home/Children; and Sociability vs. Similar Religion. Several standard sex differences replicated across cultures, including women’s greater valuation of social status and men’s greater valuation of physical attractiveness. We present culture-specific ratings on the universal dimensions across-sex and between-sex to facilitate future cross-cultural work on human mating psychology.


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