When choosing a mate, do we follow universal preferences shaped by our evolutionary history? Or rather, are our choices driven by the culture we are raised in? Do females desire different attributes in their mates in comparison to males or is there no difference? This research paper, seeks to explore some of the views and theories on interpersonal attraction with a specific emphasis gender- differences in mate preferences. Some of the most common theories for mate selection and gender differences will also be discussed.
Human beings are rational entities who depend on meaningful interaction and association for their very existence. According to John Donne (1572-1631), “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;…” As human beings, we are meant to relate – to self, to others, to the world around us. Love and attraction play an important role in interpersonal relationships. Whether we want to admit it or not, as individuals we are constantly seeking some form of attachment or commitment to others.
Questionnaires, interviews and online posts related to the topic under discussion, were administered so as to further validate the investigation conducted.
Relationships with the individuals around us are key to ones social existence. Personal accounts by people who have been isolated from the outside world serve as a reminder of our dependence on others. Psychologists and others generally agree that human beings are motivated to form bonds with one another. Baron et al (2006), accurately capture these feelings when they wrote, “we seem to have a built in affiliation need- a need to associate with our fellow humans in a friendly, co- operative way. Interpersonal attraction refers to our tendency to evaluate another person and ranges from strong liking to strong feelings of dislike? 1. What then influences this attraction?
2. What influences a person’s mate preferences? and
3. Are these preferences different from what men want versus what women want?
What influences this attraction?
Attraction is defined as a force that draws people together. According to Baron et al(2006) there are several factors that influence attraction. They have been classified as internal, external and interactive determinants. Among the internal determinants, the importance of the need for affiliation for human existence is essential. Man alone, without social relationships and contact, withers as a flower without sunlight and water. It is “as basic to our psychological well- being as hunger and thirst are to our physical well- being.” (Baron et al. 2006, 259).
In terms of external factors, researchers have identified some factors that are important in determining whether we are likely to find another person attractive. These factors are physical attractiveness, proximity, competence, mutual attraction or liking, similarity or complementarity of interest and beliefs. Physical attractiveness is the most important factor in the early stages of relationships. In general, people are more likely to interact with people who they find physically attractive. Although this factor is highly important in affecting the initial attraction, it tends to diminish over time. Physical closeness or proximity is another important factor in interpersonal attraction. Obviously, in order to meet, two people must share close proximity. The sharing of this space will help you to get to know a person better. In some cases becoming more familiar with an individual can lead to a dislike of that individual. More often, though, getting to know someone leads to a deeper relationship with that individual. . The third factor of interpersonal attraction is competence. People tend to be attracted to individuals with the same qualities that they possess, such as intelligence, strength,...