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Previous research has demonstrated that hungry men prefer women with a higher body mass index (BMI) than men who are not hungry (Swami & Tovee, 2006), suggesting that the physiological state of hunger may impact how we perceive others, particularly potential mates. Our primary goal was to examine whether or not the impact of hunger on mate selection extends to ratings of traits of desirable mates (e.g., powerful, honest, strong). A secondary goal was to examine both males’ and females’ ratings of potential mates, extending previous research that focused only on males’ ratings. One hundred and ninety-six participants (82 males, 114 females) self-reported how important various mate traits were to them and then answered demographic (e.g., age, gender), physiological state (e.g., hunger, full, thirst), mood, and self-esteem questions. Regression analyses revealed that fullness ratings (but not hunger) significantly predicted importance ratings for interpersonal characteristics (e.g., mutual attraction) and family qualities (e.g., desire for children) of mates. Gender differences were also explored, and positive affect was found to be more predictive of importance ratings for males than females for interpersonal qualities, relationship-external qualities (e.g., social status), and demographic qualities (e.g., age, weight). Future research will further explore the importance for hunger in mate selection by examining implicit attitudes.


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  • Subject
    • Psychological Science

  • Institution
    • Gainesville

  • Event date
    • 25 March 2016

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Dr. Shelley Aikman