Attractive partners dating
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The researchers note that the research will need to be replicated across more diverse samples and contexts, but these findings suggest that length of acquaintance can influence whether we perceive someone as being a desirable partner.
As part of the study, which was conducted in Finkel’s lab at Northwestern, the couples were videotaped talking about how they had changed over the course of the relationship.“Maybe it’s the case that beauty is partially in the eye of the beholder, especially as time passes.” “Leveling the Playing Field: Longer Acquaintance Predicts Reduced Assortative Mating on Attractiveness” was published in Psychological Science on June 30. Hoping your winning personality will land you a significant other that far outweighs you in the looks department? Your dreams have just been crushed under the foot of the online dating beast. You see, the rise of online dating has made it significantly harder to end up dating someone who’s more or less traditionally attractive than you.“Given that people initiate romantic relationships both with strangers and acquaintances in real life, we were interested in how time might affect how similarly attractive couple members are to one another.” The researchers hypothesized that partners who had known each other a short time before dating were likely to be similarly attractive, while partners who were well-acquainted before their romantic involvement might show a greater mismatch in physical attractiveness.The researchers looked at data collected from 167 couples (from Evanston, Illinois, and the surrounding community) -- 67 dating and 100 married -- who were participating in a longitudinal study of romantic relationships.Using these videos, independent, trained coders used rating scales to indicate the physical attractiveness of each partner; the ratings were strongly correlated among the coders, suggesting a high level of agreement on the physical desirability of each partner.
The results revealed that the longer the romantic partners had known each other before dating, the less likely they were to be matched on attractiveness, just as the researchers hypothesized.Finkel, along with Northwestern alumni Lucy Hunt, lead researcher of the study and now at the University of Texas at Austin, and Paul Eastwick, assistant professor in the department of human development and family sciences, also at UT-Austin, were interested in understanding why individuals tend to be paired with mates who have similar physical, behavioral and psychological characteristics -- a well-documented phenomenon psychological scientists refer to as “assortative mating.” One explanation for this pattern in pairing comes from a competition-based perspective.An individual’s success in the mating “market” is limited by his or her own desirability.Interestingly, the level of match on attractiveness was not associated with relationship satisfaction for either men or women in the study.That is, both friends-first and stranger-first relationships seem approximately equally happy years later.But the correlation was much lower for partners who had known each other for a long time before dating.