International preferences in selecting mates: A Study of 37 Cultures

David M. Buss, Max Abbott, Alois Angleitner, Armen Asherian, Angela Biaggio, Angel Blanco-Villasenor, M. Bruchon-Schweitzer, Hai Yuan Ch'u, Janusz Czapinski, Boele Deraad, bo Ekehammar, Noha El Lohamy, Mario Fioravanti, James Georgas, Per Gjerde, Ruth Guttman, Fatima Hazan, Saburo Iwawaki, N. Janakiramaiah, Fatemeh KhosroshaniShulamith Kreitler, Lance Lachenicht, Margaret Lee, Kadi Liik, Brian Little, Stanislaw Mika, Mariam Moadel-Shahid, Geraldine Moane, Maritza Montero, A. C. Mundy-Castle, Toomas Niit, Evaristo Nsenduluka, Ryszard Pienkowski, Anne Maija Pirtila-Backman, Julio Ponce de Leon, Jacques Rousseau, Mark A. Runco, Marilyn P. Safir, Curtis Samuels, Rasyid Sanitioso, Robert Serpell, Nico Smid, Christopher Spencer, Meri Tadinac, Elka N. Todorova, Kari Troland, L. Van Den Brande, Guus Van Heck, L. Van Langenhove, Kuo Shu Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study sought to identify the effects of culture and sex on mate preferences using samples drawn world-wide. Thirty-seven samples were obtained from 33 countries located on six continents and five islands (N = 9,474). Hierarchical multiple regressions revealed strong effects of both culture and sex, moderated by specific mate characteristics. Chastity proved to be the mate characteristic on which cultures varied the most. The preference ordering of each sample was contrasted with an international complement. Each culture displayed a unique preference ordering, but there were some similarities among all cultures as reflected in a positive manifold of the cross-country correlation matrix. Multidimensional scaling of the cultures yielded a five dimensional solution, the first two of which were interpreted. The first dimension was interpreted as Traditional versus Modern, with China, India, Iran, and Nigeria anchoring one end and the Netherlands, Great Britain, Finland, and Sweden anchoring the other. The second dimension involved valuation of education, intelligence, and refinement. Consistent sex differences in value attached to eaming potential and physical attractiveness supported evolution-based hypotheses about the importance of resources and reproductive value in mates. Discussion emphasizes the importance of psychological mate preferences for scientific disciplines ranging from evolutionary biology to sociology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-47
Number of pages43
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1990


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