The Science of Dating: A Closer Look at Research Findings

The dynamics of dating and attraction are  weaving together factors like physical attractiveness, social status, cultural values, and personal traits. Here’s a view of recent research:

  1. Physical attractiveness vs. social status: A study by Buss found that while men tend to prioritize physical attractiveness in a partner, women place more emphasis on social status.
  2. Cultural influences on mate preferences: Research by Kowner (1996) illustrates how Eastern and Western cultures differ in their mate selection criteria, with Eastern cultures valuing communal traits and Western cultures prioritizing individualistic traits.
  3. The role of language in courtship: Whitty (2003) explored how men use complex vocabulary and metaphorical language in dating scenarios to display intelligence and creativity. This linguistic effort is seen as a strategy to attract potential partners by demonstrating intellectual capabilities.
  4. Humor’s impact in long-term relationships: A study by Li et al. (2009) revealed that women are more likely to respond positively to men who display a good sense of humor, especially in the context of long-term mating strategies. Humor is perceived as an indicator of social intelligence and creativity.
  5. Socio-Economic Status and Attractiveness: Research by Fales et al. (2016) found a correlation between higher education levels, income, and perceived attractiveness, suggesting that socio-economic factors play a significant role in attraction.


  • Buss, D. M. (1989). Sex differences in human mate preferences: Evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures. Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
  • Kowner, R. (1996). Facial attractiveness and mate selection in two cultures. Journal of Social Psychology.
  • Whitty, M. T. (2003). The language of love: The effects of romantic descriptions on attraction in an online dating context. System Sciences.
  • Li, N. P., et al. (2009). Humor effects on women’s responses to men’s offers. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
  • Fales, M. R., et al. (2016). Mating markets and bargaining hands: Mate preferences for attractiveness and resources in two national U.S. studies. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.