Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Political preferences play different role in dating, mating

Date:
September 21, 2011
Source:
Brown University
Summary:
Online daters are reluctant to use partisan politics to attract a potential mate, according to new research in the U.S. The study shows that singles are more likely to admit they are overweight on their online dating profiles than to say they are politically liberal or conservative.

Online daters are reluctant to use partisan politics to attract a potential mate.
Credit: Dawngo / Fotolia

Online daters are reluctant to use partisan politics to attract a potential mate, according to new research co-authored by Brown political scientist Rose McDermott. The study, published in Evolution and Human Behavior, shows that singles are more likely to admit they are overweight on their online dating profiles than to say they are politically liberal or conservative.

New research suggests that individuals attempting to attract a mate often avoid advertising their political leanings. The findings, co-authored by political scientists Rose McDermott of Brown University, Casey A. Klofstad of the University of Miami, and Peter K. Hatemi, a genetic epidemiologist at Pennsylvania State University, are published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.

"Because we know that long-term mates are more politically similar than random attachment might predict, we were interested to see how people seeking a mate end up with people who share their political values," said McDermott. "This is particularly important because political ideology appears to be in part heritable, and so mates pass their ideology on to their children."

For their study, titled "Do bedroom eyes wear political glasses? The role of politics in human mate attraction," the research team randomly sampled 2,944 profiles from a popular Internet dating site and examined whether people indicated an interest in politics or selected a specific political view. They found that only 14 percent of online daters included "political interests" in their profile, which ranked 23rd out of 27 interest categories -- just below "video games" and above "business networking" and "book club."

To put this in perspective, the authors write, "When asked to describe their body type, a larger proportion of our sample voluntarily described themselves as either 'heavy set,' having 'a few extra pounds,' or 'stocky' (17%) than listed 'politics' as one of their interests.

Other findings:

  • Few individuals were willing to express a definitive political preference. Of those that listed politics as an interest, the majority -- 57 percent -- reported that their politics were "middle of the road."
  • Women were 8 percent less likely to report being interested in politics.
  • A higher income, education, and degree of civil engagement (i.e., volunteerism) increased the likelihood of listing politics as an interest.
  • Older daters and those with higher education levels were more willing to express a definitive political preference, such as "very liberal" or "ultra conservative."

Politics in dating vs. mating

The researchers note that the apparent reluctance to reveal political preferences is interesting because previous studies have shown that spouses share political views more than almost any other trait, with religious affiliation being the exception. They ask, "What steps between mate selection and actual mating occur that drive politically similar people to long-term partnership?"

They point to two possible explanations. First, that humans desire compatibility in their long-term relationships, which, from an evolutionary perspective, should increase the likelihood of being able to raise offspring successfully. Perhaps individuals are not choosy about politics at the outset of the relationship, but are likely to pursue long-term commitments with individuals who share political attitudes. Second, people could be making long-term choices based on nonpolitical characteristics that correlate with political leanings, such as religion, thus unintentionally sorting on politics.

"At some point in the dating process we somehow filter out people who do not share our political preferences," said Klofstad. "Our best guess is that in the short-run most people want to cast as wide a net as possible when dating. However, in the long-run shared political preferences become a critical foundation of lasting relationships, despite the fact that many Americans are not even interested in politics."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brown University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Casey A. Klofstad, Rose McDermott, Peter K. Hatemi. Do bedroom eyes wear political glasses? The role of politics in human mate attraction. Evolution and Human Behavior, 2011; DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2011.06.002

Cite This Page:

Brown University. "Political preferences play different role in dating, mating." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110919124809.htm>.
Brown University. (2011, September 21). Political preferences play different role in dating, mating. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110919124809.htm
Brown University. "Political preferences play different role in dating, mating." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110919124809.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NSA Leaks Net Pulitzer For Guardian, Washington Post

NSA Leaks Net Pulitzer For Guardian, Washington Post

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) The Pulitzer Prize for Public Service was awarded to The Washington Post and The Guardian for their work covering the NSA's surveillance programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dutch Highway Introduces Glow-In-The-Dark Paint

Dutch Highway Introduces Glow-In-The-Dark Paint

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) A Dutch highway has become the first lit by glow-in-the-dark paint — a project aimed at reducing street light use. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida

After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida

AP (Apr. 14, 2014) Florida wildlife officials say they have killed five bears following an attack on a woman in a suburban subdivision in central Florida. Forty-five year-old Terri Frana was attacked by a large bear in her driveway Saturday. (April 14) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins