AGE PREFERENCES IN A GENDER EGALITARIAN SOCIETY

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Abstract

We investigated age preferences and mate choice for students whose ages ranged from 18 to 30 years in a sample from the world's most egalitarian nation. Sex differences in age preferences have been shown to be quite consistent across a variety of cultures, but the explanations for these findings have varied. From an evolutionary psychology point of view, we predicted that sex differences would be present, even in a sample of Norwegian students. If the findings were based on biosocial theory we should see a significant decrease in sex differences in mate choice (as in actual relationships) and in preferences for age compared to other cross-cultural samples. The predictions derived from evolutionary theory were supported: men wanted younger partners than women, and the preference for younger women increased with the man's age. Women showed a more stable preference for slightly older men. The actual partner choice, as reflected in current relationships, also supported the prediction: men choose younger partners than themselves, and women choose older partners. These findings support the hypothesis that men have an evolved tendency to be attracted to women who display cues of high reproductive value and women have an evolved tendency to be attracted to men who display cues of status and resources, even in a culture that is internationally renowned for its egalitarianism.

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