Personality Traits Vs. Physical Attractiveness: Moms And Young Women Looking For Men To Date Weigh In

Growing up we've all heard "mother knows best," because mom always had our best interests at heart. Moms might've nagged us to eat our vegetables, clean our room, or drive safely, but when it comes to dating, we should look elsewhere for help getting set up. Researchers at Eastern Connecticut State University found moms may have lower standards when picking a "hot date" for their daughters.

Mothers were more likely to rate all men, even the least attractive ones, as potential desirable partners for their daughters. This suggests unattractiveness is seen as more of a deal breaker than a bad personality.

Read More: What Type Of Men Most Women Prefer, According To Science

"It might also mean that women and their mothers may have different notions of what constitutes a minimally acceptable level of physical attractiveness, with mothers employing a less stringent standard than their daughters," said Madeleine Fugère, lead author of the study, in a statement.

Previous research has found we are more likely to value different traits in a date than our parents for various reasons. For example, physical attractiveness, a charismatic personality, or a good sense of humor are rated higher, while parents consider a good family background, strong financial prospects, and a similar religious or ethnic background as more valuable. This implies we're more likely to choose potential partners that our own parents would not have chosen for us.

In the new study, published in Evolutionary Psychological Science, researchers analyzed mate preference of 80 women between the ages of 15 and 29 years old, and one or both of their parents. Each of the women were shown color photos of three male candidates who varied in levels of attractiveness. Each photo was paired with one of these three trait profiles: the "respectful" profile listed the traits "respectful, trustworthy, and honest"; the "friendly" profile included being "friendly, dependable, and mature"; and the "pleasing" profile meant that the man was "of a pleasing disposition, ambitious, and intelligent."

Mothers and daughters rated the photos and traits based on how good looking the men were; their personal description; and whether they'd consider the person as dating potential for themselves or their daughters.

Couple Mothers and daughters view personality traits and physical attraction differently when it comes to choosing potential dates. Photo courtesy of Pixabay, Public Domain

The findings revealed a man's physical attractiveness strongly influenced how mothers and daughters rated their dating eligibility. Those who were attractive and moderately attractive triumphed over unattractive men who possessed the most desirable traits. However, men with the most desirable personality profiles were seen as more dating worthy than their counterparts, but only if they were at least moderately attractive.

Fugére and her colleagues concluded, "a minimum level of physical attractiveness is a necessity for both women and their mothers."

Read More: Women Are Attracted To Men With Beautiful Girlfriends More Than To Single Men

We will traditionally hear mothers and daughters rating traits such as respectfulness and friendliness as more important than looks. However, they assume these dates possess at least a minimal acceptable standard of physical attractiveness. Yet, when several various levels of attractiveness are shown, looks will weigh in more than other traits.

The truth is we live in a society that's obsessed with youth and beauty. Moreover, singles are using online dating to connect with potential mates, where looks are inevitably the first thing we notice. We all want someone who is funny, attractive, and someone our parents will like.

So, we may not always be transparent with what we want, but a good-looking date, is never a bad thing.

Source: Fugère MA, Chabot C, Doucette K et al. The Importance of Physical Attractiveness to the Mate Choices of Women and Their Mothers. Evolutionary Psychological Science. 2017.

See Also:

Women Are Less Attracted To Masculinity

7 Strange Ways To Arouse A Woman, According To Science

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