Self-perceived mate value is poorly predicted by demographic variables

Mate value is a construct that can be measured in various ways, ranging from complex but difficult-to-obtain ratings all the way to single-item self-report measures. Due to low sample sizes in previous studies, little is known about the relationship between mate value and demographic variables. In this article, we tested the Mate Value Scale, a relatively new, short, 4-item self-report measure in two large samples. In the first sample of over 1,000, mostly college-age participants, the scale was found to be reliable and correlated with criterion variables in expected ways. In the second, larger sample, which included over 21,000 participants, we have tested for differences across demographics. Contrary to theoretical expectations and previous findings with smaller samples, the differences were either very small (sexual orientation, age, education) or small (sex, socioeconomic status, relationship status) in terms of their effect size. This suggests that the scale is not measuring “objective” mate value (as understood either in terms of fitness or actual mating decisions by potential partners on the “market”), but a self-perception of it, open to social comparison, relative standards, possibly even biases, raising questions about measuring self-perceived versus objective mate value.

Authors: Zsófia Csajbók, Jan Havlíček, Zsolt Demetrovics and Mihály Berkics.

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