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That’s the logic of the sex difference prediction as we see it, and most scholars draw from evolutionary perspectives to generate the same prediction (e.g., work by Meltzer and Li described below).

But agreement on this point is not universal: Some scholars do not believe that attributes like attractiveness should exhibit sex differentiated effects on romantic evaluations (see here and here for our back and forth with David Schmitt on this issue).

Typically, researchers operationalize ideals with respect to traits, such as attractiveness or warmth or extraversion.

I might say that I want a partner who is especially extraverted, whereas you might say you want a partner who is not especially extraverted.

If you have ever seen a speed-date (a real one, not this one), you will probably have seen two people discussing some pretty ordinary details about their lives (e.g., where they are from, what they do for a living and/or study).

They meander through these topics while trying to find something in common.

That is, does the sex × attractiveness interaction predict romantic evaluations?

- Paul Eastwick and Eli Finkel Ideal partner preferences (also called “mate preferences” and “ideal standards”) are the qualities that people rate highly when thinking about their ideal romantic partner.But there is not a single direct replication of such a study or a pre-registered study showing these effects; until such studies emerge, it seems prudent to trust the meta-analysis as our best understanding of this phenomenon.We have no empirical basis to comment on the predictive validity of other sex-differentiated traits (e.g., youth, status). Our meta-analysis included speed-dating studies, and confederate studies, and naïve participant-interaction studies, and people reporting on opposite-sex friends and acquaintances from their everyday lives, and people reporting on dating partners, and people reporting on marriage partners.For the pattern metric, the answer is “yes, if people are evaluating a current romantic partner.” That is, to the extent that a current partner matches my pattern of ideals (regardless of level) across a variety of traits, I report more positive romantic evaluations about him/her.If people instead evaluate partners they aren’t currently dating, then the answer is again “no.” (The clearest demonstration of these effects is in Study 3 here as well as Study 4 here.) Importantly, new evidence suggests that the pattern metric has some statistical shortcomings (see Statistical Critique #2 below), so take these findings with a grain of salt.

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