Psychological Science 2018, (3) 674-679 DOI:     ISSN: 0412-1961 CN: 21-1139/TG

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college student
mate preferences
CHEN Yong-Xiang
YAO Meng-Xia
Article by Chen,Y.X
Article by Yao,M.X

The Influence of Quantity of Resources on College Students' Mate Preferences

Yong-Xiang Chen1, 2

2. Shanxi University


How to choose the right spouse is an important decision for young Chinese people. At the same time, with the rapid growth of Chinese market economy, people have realized the importance of resources to the development. However, the resources of each person's mate selection (such as their own and family status) are limited. Thus it is a problem for young Chinese people about how to choose a long-term mate according to their limited resources. In this study, 152 Chinese college students were asked to design their ideal long-term mates, according to their assignment of 3 budgets (20, 40 and 60 mate coins) to 10 features. Since the budget was a within-subject variable, the test order of the 3 budgets were counter-balanced between different participants. For each features, the participants were asked to assign 0 to 10 mate coins, which represent 0 to 100 percentile. Thus, 1 coin = Level 1 = 10th percentile, which means that the potential marriage partner were better than 10% of all peers in this feature. Before the test, it was emphasized that the number of mating coins they used must be equal to the number of the coins provided. In this study, the "necessity" was defined as follows: the mate coins allocated to the features were more than average (i.e., 10% of all) when one's budget was limited, and the distribution ratio significantly reduced when one's budget was increased. The definition of "luxury" was: the mate coins allotted to the features were less than average (i.e., 10% of all) when one's budget was limited, and the assigned ratio significantly raised when one's budget was increased. Thus the influence of quantity of resources on college students' mate preferences was explored. Besides, the paradigm of this study was the same as that of Li, Bailey, Kenrick, & Linsenmeier (2002)'s study, and the features were similar. Hence the results of the two studies were compared. The results of the present study showed that: 1) The scarcity of resources had impact on people's mating preferences: when mating resources were limited, the participants were more biased toward the features associated with loyalty and health (i.e., the necessities); however, when their own resources increased, they also increased their focus on luxuries such as creativity. 2) Gender differences existed in mating preferences. When mate resources were low, women made more emphasis on male's socioeconomic status, while men made more emphasis on female's loyalty. When the resources increased, there is no gender difference. Sex differences could be well explained by evolutionary psychology. In order to cope with the pressure of survival and reproduction and to ensure the flourishing of future generations in society, women might be more invested in the social and economic status. However, for men, woman's health was an important cue of the birth of a healthy child. In Li et al. (2002)'s study, physical attractiveness was a necessity to men in the United States, yet this result was not replicated in Chinese college students in the present study. This result implies cultural differences in young people's mate preferences, though the influence of resources on people's mating preferences was validated in both cultures.

Keywords resources   SES   college student   mate preferences  
Received 2016-12-15 Revised 2017-12-02 Online: 2018-05-20 
Corresponding Authors: Yong-Xiang Chen
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