Changes in women's mate preferences across the ovulatory cycle

Steven W. Gangestad, Christine E. Garver-Apgar, Jeffry A. Simpson, Alita J. Cousins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

205 Scopus citations


Previous research has shown that women's mate preferences change across the ovulatory cycle in a number of ways. The leading explanation for these changes - the good genes hypothesis - predicts that women should prefer presumed markers of genetic benefits ("good genes") most strongly when they are fertile and evaluating men as possible short-term mates. Research testing this hypothesis has almost exclusively examined preferences for purported markers of good genes. Little is known about how preferences for men who display traits valued in long-term, investing mates (e.g., warmth and faithfulness) change across the cycle. The authors had women at different points in their ovulatory cycle rate videotapes of men in terms of how attractive they found each man as a short-term and long-term mate. The authors then examined how women's preferences for traits typically valued in long-term and/or short-term mates varied according to women's fertility status. The results supported the good genes hypothesis. Implications of these findings for models of human mating are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-163
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Fertility status
  • Good genes hypothesis
  • Interpersonal attraction
  • Mate preferences
  • Ovulation
  • Sexual selection


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