A Multivariate Study of Human Mate Preferences: Findings from the California Twin Registry

Allison W. Cooperman, Niels Waller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Much research examining the biological and social-cultural underpinnings of human mate preferences has focused on univariate or bivariate analyses of demographic variables and personality constructs. In this paper, we argue that a multivariate approach more effectively highlights the multifaceted structure and correlates of human mate preferences. To support this claim, we applied several multivariate techniques to data from a large adult sample to (1) examine the major dimensions underlying individual differences in mate preferences, and (2) elucidate how these preferences relate to individual differences in personality. An exploratory factor analysis of an omnibus mate preference questionnaire yielded a 14-factor solution with dimensions mirroring trends in evolutionary psychology and the Big Five personality framework. An inter-battery factor analysis of these dimensions paired with higher-order personality factors provided strong support for the “likes attract” model of partner preferences. Bootstrap confidence intervals for all factor loadings highlighted the robustness of our results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-39
Number of pages20
JournalMultivariate Behavioral Research
Issue number1
Early online dateAug 7 2020
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Big Five
  • Mate preferences
  • individual differences
  • multivariate statistics
  • sex differences

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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