How Humans Cognitively Manage an Abundance of Mate Options
Alison P Lenton and Marco Francesconi; 2010
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.
[It seems that an abundance of mate options leads to a shallower mate choice and that shallow mate choosers are generally confronted with an abundance of mate options.]