Divergence between in-law and mate preferences: Evolved predispositions or socialization and experience effects?

Menelaos Apostolou, Daniela Philippou, Zina Andronikou, Katerina Argyridou, Kristia Kasapi, Irini Kourouklari, Antria Antoniou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When it comes to mate choice, parents value certain traits differently in a mate for their children, than their children in a mate for themselves. This is not surprising, given that parents, by virtue of being older, have been socialized in a different context and have more life experiences than their children, so they may have come to see certain traits differently than the latter. Apart from socialization and experience effects, it has been argued that these findings also reflect evolved predispositions effects; that is, evolutionary pressures have resulted in in-law and mate preferences to diverge over specific traits. Using novel research designs and a new instrument to measure preferences, the present work attempts to provide support for this hypothesis. More specifically, evidence from three independent studies indicates that sexually mature individuals who have children alter their preferences over specific traits on the basis of whether they act as parents or mate-seekers. These findings indicate that the divergence between mate and in-law preferences also reflects evolved predisposition effects. Furthermore, this research has identified, for the first time, that 'being family oriented' constitutes another dimension of disagreement over mating.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-61
Number of pages5
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • In-law preferences
  • Mate choice
  • Mate preferences
  • Parent-offspring conflict over mating
  • Parental choice


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