Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 46, Issue 8, pp 2365–2376 | Cite as

The Impact of Health, Wealth, and Attractiveness on Romantic Evaluation from Photographs of Faces

  • Konstantin O. TskhayEmail author
  • Jerri M. Clout
  • Nicholas O. Rule
Original Paper


A large literature suggests that men and women differ in their self-reported mate preferences such that men place greater weight on physical attractiveness than women do, whereas women value financial prospects more than men. Yet, little research has addressed how these differences generalize to other contexts, such as modern online dating in which mate selection may largely depend on visual cues. Distinct from the sex differences observed in previous studies relying on self-reports, we found that men and women both used perceptions of health and attractiveness to select hypothetical partners based on photographs of their faces. Importantly, although people reliably identified others’ wealth from their photographs, these perceptions did not influence men’s or women’s partner selections. Thus, men and women may select romantic partners similarly based on limited visual information.


Mate preferences Online dating Sex differences Social perception 



We would like to thank Rebecca Zhu and other members of the Social Perception and Cognition Lab for their help with data collection. The current work was supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to Nicholas O. Rule.


This study was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Grant.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Konstantin O. Tskhay declares that he has no conflict of interest. Jerri M. Clout declares that she has no conflict of interest. Nicholas O. Rule declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Konstantin O. Tskhay
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jerri M. Clout
    • 1
  • Nicholas O. Rule
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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