Magazine article USA TODAY

Looks Matter to Women, Too

Magazine article USA TODAY

Looks Matter to Women, Too

Article excerpt

Women get pickier about whom they date the more options they have and although females say that they rate intelligence over attractiveness in their search for a mate, when they try "speed dating," physical attractiveness leads their list--outpacing intelligence, sincerity, and compatibility--to the same degree as it does for men, according to a study by Stanford (Calif.) University, Columbia University, New York. and Harvard University, Cambridge. Mass.

"Marketers are interested in how people make choices, and one area in which we make an important choice is whom we want to date" notes Itamar Simonson, professor of marketing at Stanford.

The study examined how men and women respond to each other during speed-dating trials--an increasingly popular option for meeting members of the opposite sex. The premise is simple: Men and women are matched up for a date for a very short time. usually just a few minutes. Participants are asked to indicate privately whether they wish to go out on another date with the person they just met. If two people agree that they would like to see each other again, they are matched for a second, "real" date.

"There has been a great deal of research on mate selection and, by and large, men put a great emphasis on physical attractiveness. Women. particularly in long-term relationships, put more emphasis on such attributes as intelligence, earning potential, and sincerity," Simonson explains. Study participants were asked ahead of time what they would prefer in a partner. Men, rather predictably, said attractiveness, while women listed intelligence and sincerity. Indeed, this preliminary survey showed preferences for the traditional attributes that you would expect from men and women Simonson notes.

However, when they moved through the speed-dating process, there was no appreciable difference between men and women. …

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