How Humans Cognitively Manage an Abundance of Mate Options

A. P. Lenton, M. Francesconi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

To contribute to researchers’ understanding of how humans choose mates, we examined how the number of mate options influenced the dating decisions made by 1,868 women and 1,870 men across 84 speed-dating events. Multilevel modeling of these decisions revealed that when faced with abundant choice, choosers paid less attention to characteristics requiring more time to elicit and evaluate (e.g., occupational status and educational attainment) and more attention to characteristics that are quickly and easily assessed (e.g., height and weight). Human mate choice sits squarely within the domain of general cognition, as this study shows it to be constrained by bounds on cognitive resources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-533
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • choice overload
  • cognition
  • decision making
  • evolutionary psychology
  • mate choice
  • speed dating


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