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Mate Selection

  1. Margaret J. Cason,
  2. Norman P. Li

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0531

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Cason, M. J. and Li, N. P. 2010. Mate Selection. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of Texas at Austin

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife”—so wrote Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice. From classic literature to contemporary screenplays, from the latest celebrity news to office gossip, it is nearly impossible to escape the pervasive topic of romantic relationships. Indeed, the pursuit of mates consumes a significant portion of our time and energy, and for good reason—mates give us companionship, pleasure, comfort, security, and even health benefits. As we discuss in this article, there are two major theoretical perspectives for understanding mate selection. Although these perspectives have different explanations for people's mate choices, both agree that who one selects as a mate depends largely on the type of relationship one seeks and the characteristics one desires.


  • mate selection;
  • mate preferences;
  • evolutionary psychology;
  • sociocultural perspective