MONDAY, June 29, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- Women and men are equally selective when picking a mate, according to a U.S. study that challenges the belief that men are less choosy.
Northwestern University psychologists recruited 350 undergraduates for speed-dating events. In half the events, men rotated through the room while the women stayed seated in one location. The roles were reversed in the other events.
After each of the four-minute "dates," the participants reported their romantic desire for the other person and how self-confident they felt about the meeting. After each event, the participants indicated whether they'd be interested in seeing that person again.
Both men and women were less picky when they were rotating and more discriminating when they were seated. The study also found that those who rotated tended to express greater interest in seeing their speed-dating partners again than did those who were seated.
"The results suggest a fascinating alternative explanation for the sex difference in romantic selectivity," study author Eli J. Finkel said in a news release from the Association for Psychological Science. "They suggest that this difference may be due to the roles men and women play in the opening seconds of new romantic contacts, with the physical act of who approaches whom."
"The mere act of physically approaching a potential partner seems to increase your desire for that partner," Finkel said.
The study appears in the association's journal, Psychological Science.
The Nemours Foundation has more on healthy relationships.