Meet the parents: parent-offspring convergence and divergence in mate preferences

C. Perilloux, Diana Fleischman, D. Buss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study provides the first evolutionarily-informed direct comparison of actual parents’ and offspring’s mate preferences. We compared students’ (N = 300) average rankings of 13 traits for desirability in an ideal mate with their parents’ (N = 238) rankings of the same traits for their offspring’s ideal mate. Parents ranked religion higher than offspring, whereas offspring ranked physical attractiveness higher than parents. Parents preferred earning capacity and college graduate more in daughters’ mates than sons’ mates. In the offspring sample, significant sex differences replicated those previously documented (e.g., attractiveness, resource acquisition). Parent-offspring differences may reflect evolved psychological mechanisms in parents that functioned to increase inclusive fitness by influencing offspring’s mate choice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-258
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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