Mate Preference in Humans


Trivers theory of parental investment has identified the difference between investments of each sex; in relation to costs of reproduction have lead to strategies to optimise behaviour, through mate preferences (Trivers 1972).   With increased energy costs, through gestation and lactation for females it is presumable that females will be the choosier sex, therefore developing mate preferences.   Although females may be the more choosier sex, males also have had to develop mate preferences in response to the limited access to females partners, therefore they have had to develop strategies which will enable them to choose a fertile female and increasing chances of fertilisation, therefore strategies to pick up female fertility cues have been developed (Chu et al 2007).
Gangstad and Simpson (2000), identified that the two most important driving factors of female mate choice were based upon potential partner’s genetic quality and contribution of resources and investment to offspring, supported by : Buss (1989), Buss and Barnes (1986).
Symons (1979) recognized that physical attractiveness reflects mate preference to healthy mates and mates with increased fertility and increased genetic quality.   Physical attractiveness has therefore been described as the

“ ‘phenotypic condition’ – the ability to acquire and allocate resources efficiently and effectively to activities that enhance survival and reproduction (i.e. the ability to garner and convert energy into returns in evolutionary fitness)”.   Thornhill and Gangestad (1999) page 452.

The “phenotypic condition” can be recognised in males as symmetry, facial hair, tall and big body size to reflect increased genetic quality and health, with females having preference to this in hope that these traits can be passed on to offspring thus providing them with traits which will   give them selective advantage of increased reproductive success.   In females the “phenotypic condition” is displayed to indicate...