Mate Preferences in Adopted Individuals

Date
2007-05-13
Authors
Thompson, Matthew
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract
Research has shown that early exposure to parental characteristics in non-human animals influences later mate preferences. Similar findings are reported for humans. The development of mate preferences may be governed by a process known as imprinting, in which preferences are shaped by exposure to the physical characteristics of opposite-sex caretakers during a sensitive period in childhood. However, the mechanisms behind this imprinting-like effect remain unclear. In the current study, approximately 60 adopted individuals living in Canada and the United States completed web-based questionnaires. Adoptees’ mate preferences for hair color, eye color, and ethnicity were examined in relation to corresponding caretaker traits. Results did not show significant correlations between any of the variables. These findings may indicate that a frequency-based development of facial preferences affects later mate-choice criteria.
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