Mate Lewis, 1968; Walster et al., 1966; Berscheid et

 

Mate
choice in humans can be addressed as either an event or a process. The event refers to the initial time-limited
encounter by which two individuals decide simultaneously if they accept each
other as potential mates. However, the process
of choosing a specific mate is based upon extended communication and persuasion
between two individuals in order to establish a long-term relationship
(Bateson, 1983). We are solely investigating the event of mate choice.

 

First
introduced by social psychologists, the Matching Hypothesis states that
individuals of equal social desirability form more successful committed
relationships than individuals that are randomly partnered up (Taylor et al., 2011; Walster et al., 1966). Walster & colleagues proposed physical attractiveness as an
important quantifiable measure of one’s desirability and declared that individuals
opt for others of similar attractiveness to themselves (1966). Therefore, our
emphasis was placed on the first component of The Stimulus-Role-Value Theory,
by which mate choice is based on visual, auditory and non-interactional means (Murstein, 1970). Research based
on Zahavi’s Principle suggests that physical attractiveness is an honest signal
of their phenotypic and genetic quality (Thornhill
& Grammar, 1999). The study states that in women for
example, their faces comprise “a single ornament” of honest indication of their
developmental health, and consequently their quality. Therefore, this
characteristic is used as the most valuable indicator of one’s desirability.

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Although the Matching Hypothesis has been
endorsed by scientists such as Keisler & Baral (Kalick & Hamilton,
1986), Murstein (1970),
Murstein & Christy (1976) and White (1980), it has also been continuously disproven (Brislin &
Lewis, 1968; Walster et al., 1966;
Berscheid et al., 1971 & Taylor et al., 2011). Additionally, a surprisingly persistent
conclusion across the field demonstrates that individuals might actually prefer
choosing others that are of high attractiveness (Taylor et al., 2011; Berscheid et al., 1971). In fact, in 1983 Burley
proposed that the shared preference of highly attractive individuals may also
play an important role in reaching the Matching Hypothesis (Burley, 1983).

Therefore, she claimed that homogamous couple formations can be a result of
either unanimous type-preference
(motivation to form a couple with most attractive individual) or unanimous homotypic-preference (motivation to form
a couple with a similar individual).

 

Our
study is based on Kalick and Hamilton’s re-examination of the Matching
Hypothesis, with results showing a higher correlation of individuals in
conditions under the type-preference
than under the homotypic-preference
(Kalick & Hamilton, 1986). It is
important to note that our measure of similarity between individuals is not
given as a correlational value but rather as the quantitative difference in
attractiveness of individuals within a couple. Our main aim is as follow:

 

 

(a)   To
explore the approaches and relative importance of the two preferences in
reaching the Matching Hypothesis.

 

 

To
substantiate our conclusions, we will impose the ageing factor on type-preference and homotypic-preference conditions. The theory behind it called
“prettier towards closing time” was initially proposed by songwriters of Gilley
(1975) before being scientifically reinforced by psychologists (Pennebaker,
1979). With diminishing time to make a decision on mate choice, there is a
pressing need for individuals to find a partner and therefore subjects are
perceived as increasingly attractive. Therefore, Pennebaker claims that time-threatened
individuals “increased in perceived attractiveness as the decision time
approaches”. Our second aim is therefore as follow:

 

 

(b)  To
evaluate the influence that ageing has on reaching the Matching Hypothesis for
both preferences.

 

 

Former
research tested the matching phenomenon through pairing up subjects for dates
(Brislin & Lewis, 1968; Walster, 1970), long-term couples’ studies (Thiessen
& Gregg, 1980; Murstein & Christy, 1976; Bar-Tal & Saxe, 1976) and online
dating surveys (Taylor et al., 2011,
Study 3). In an attempt to overcome the inconsistencies in experimental research
we executed a computer-based model. Using the software Netlogo 6.0.1, we
created a multivariate world representing simply yet accurately the dynamic
system of a fix dating pool.

 

 

Method

 

Our
‘world’ assumes 500 female and 500 male hypothetical heterosexual participants
called agents. All 1,000 agents were randomly assigned a number from 1-10 as an
indicator of their physical attractiveness: 1 being the least attractive, 10
being the most attractive. This value called ‘A-date’ stays true to agents
throughout each simulation. A complete simulation terminates at a time unit of
501 ticks (see Appendix). Males are stationary, females are travelling in
random directions and upon encounter the agents independently evaluate if they
accept or reject one another as their partner. This mimics the idea of ‘dates’
by random pairing. Both need to accept each other as partners in order to
become a successful date. Successful dates cause agents to remain with their partner
and stationary throughout the simulation. Unsuccessful dates result in the
female continuing its trajectory until she finds a partner. The acceptance of
an agent is a probabilistic function of their own
attractiveness.

 

Using the function,
agents were put under three different simulations that each impose their own
decision rule. The first decision rule dictates that an agent’s mate choice is
based on choosing a highly attractive individual: ­type-preference. The second decision rule imposes the concept of
choosing an individual of similar attractiveness to oneself: homotypic-preference. To further
evaluate their relative importance, both the first and second decision rules are
merged to form the third decision rule: combined-preference.

For each decision rule,