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Thread: Patterns in mate choice?

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    Patterns in mate choice?

    Is it hereditary, is it imprinting on the parent of the opposite sex at a certain time? What is it? Can it be predicted? Do identical twin studies help?

    This is a very well done analysis of the relevant literature, and you know what? There doesn't seem to be a pattern.

    The heart wants what the heart wants. Or, the heart has its reason that reason knows not of. Or, as my Neapolitan grandmother in law put it: Some people draw to your heart and some don't.

    See:
    https://slatestarcodex.com/2016/10/2...-knows-not-of/

    The colpo di fulmine, the lightning bolt, does exist.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Is it hereditary, is it imprinting on the parent of the opposite sex at a certain time? What is it? Can it be predicted? Do identical twin studies help?

    This is a very well done analysis of the relevant literature, and you know what? There doesn't seem to be a pattern.

    The heart wants what the heart wants. Or, the heart has its reason that reason knows not of. Or, as my Neapolitan grandmother in law put it: Some people draw to your heart and some don't.

    See:
    https://slatestarcodex.com/2016/10/2...-knows-not-of/

    The colpo di fulmine, the lightning bolt, does exist.

    So, no, men don't necessarily marry women who look like their mothers, which I always thought was kind of creepy anyway. :)

    The interesting thing is that if this imprinting does happen, it seems to happen around 18 months, which is the age when a lot of children are weaned.

    What I do think might have a bigger chance of being true is an old saying where I'm from: before you marry a woman, look at her mother, because that's what your wife will be like at that age. The saying doesn't mention fathers, but the truth is that it probably applies in that case too.

    Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.

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    Well, my mom was a brunette with big brown eyes . . . and my wife is a brunette with big brown eyes . . . just sayin'.

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    The link in the OP is quite long, but I think they do not explore one possibility I always thought about intuitively: we choose a couple which is most likely to give healthy kids with us. I think we do this through smell (and similar).

    My wife and my mother could not be more different physically to each other.

    Note: there could be some confounding factors. Maybe there is an intrinsic preference for women similar to your mom, but if you find a very attractive woman different to your mom, you prefer that woman.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    So, no, men don't necessarily marry women who look like their mothers, which I always thought was kind of creepy anyway. :)

    The interesting thing is that if this imprinting does happen, it seems to happen around 18 months, which is the age when a lot of children are weaned.

    What I do think might have a bigger chance of being true is an old saying where I'm from: before you marry a woman, look at her mother, because that's what your wife will be like at that age. The saying doesn't mention fathers, but the truth is that it probably applies in that case too.

    Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.
    i also thoght that we generally chose people more similar to us. but now i think thit has more to do with self esteem and also certain ideals and ideas that we have of other people.

    for example someone who thinks the traits he/she has are ugly or even inferior to other traits will intentionally or unintentionally search for someone with different traits or with traits that he thinks are superior. or maybe also if a person does good or bad things to us, we will tie their appearance to the feelings we had at that moment. i think psychology is so important that personal experiences throughout your life can change your picture of attractiveness.

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    Also, there could be differences between men and women: I recall a report some time ago arguing that women overwhelmingly prefer men from their own phenotype (there were some exceptions, like black and Han women also liking white men). Instead, for men the phenotype does not matter, basically.

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    2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Farstar View Post
    Also, there could be differences between men and women: I recall a report some time ago arguing that women overwhelmingly prefer men from their own phenotype (there were some exceptions, like black and Han women also liking white men). Instead, for men the phenotype does not matter, basically.
    Yes, I remember that paper as well. It was about white women overwhelmingly preferring men of their own general phenotype, i.e. "white" men, but I think that it was that white men also prefer women of their own phenotype, but by a much smaller percentage.

    As you stated upthread, I also think smell has a role to play; it may subconsciously play a role hormonally.

    The paper "is" long, but they do pick apart the details. For example, instant attraction is one thing, but there are all sorts of confounding factors in "mate" choice, or marriage/long term relationship. Then, social factors might indeed come into play, such as wanting to "up" one's status, or trying to prove some ideological point, or simply just for mercenary reasons like money or security, particularly, it has to be said, where women are concerned.

    Also, the "type" of person someone wants might not want them, or at least none of the ones he/she meets. So, people "settle" for someone who is willing to be with them.

    I think instant attraction is something else, and much more subconscious. I don't think it's always just about a "preferred" phenotype, either. My husband, although Italian like my father, looks absolutely nothing like him. What I saw in my husband instantly, however, was not just beauty, but a sweetness, a kindness in the eyes, and strength and confidence in the face, both of which tremendously appeal to me.

    After that instant attraction, all sorts of things come into play for someone like me: do we share the same values, generally and in terms of family, is this an intelligent person with whom I can have meaningful discussions, is he honest, hard working, does he have a self of humor, particularly about himself, does he come from a stable, loving family?

    Sometimes, looking at the marriages around me which fall apart or are just miserably unhappy, I think they never moved to stage two, if you know what I mean, or they tried, but just aren't very good at discerning character. Or, they just married for the wrong reasons, sometimes not even being all that attracted to the person, or not really knowing them.

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