In a new paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers argue that mates select one another not so much based on their “mate value” — their good lucks, charisma or success — but rather for their unique appeal. Although there might be initial consensus on someone’s mate value, over time that value can decrease or increase as we get to better know the person.
Meanwhile, uniqueness might be more important in selecting a partner. Whereas one woman might find a certain man’s “obscure literary references” captivating, another may fail to be charmed by him, according to a New York Times op-ed by the paper’s authors, Paul Eastwick and Lucy Hunt. “So if you do not have a high mate value, take heart. All you need is for others to have the patience to get to know you, and a more level playing field should follow,” write the authors.