Mate choice, mate preference, and biological markets: the relationship between partner choice and health preference is modulated by women's own attractiveness

Joanna Wincenciak, Corey L. Fincher, Claire I. Fisher, Amanda C. Hahn, Benedict C. Jones, Lisa M. DeBruine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Although much of the research on human mate preference assumes that mate preference and partner choice will be related to some extent, evidence for correlations between mate preference and mate choice is mixed. Inspired by biological market theories of mate choice, which propose that individuals with greater market value will be better placed to translate their preference into choice, we investigated whether participants' own attractiveness modulated the relationship between their preference and choice. Multilevel modeling showed that experimentally assessed preferences for healthy-looking other-sex faces predicted third-party ratings of partner's facial health better among women whose faces were rated as more attractive by third parties. This pattern of results was not seen for men. These results suggest that the relationship between mate preference and mate choice may be more complex than was assumed in previous research, at least among women. Our results also highlight the utility of biological market theories for understanding the links between mate preference and partner choice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-278
Number of pages5
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


  • biological markets
  • facial attractiveness
  • health
  • mate choice
  • mate preferences

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