Personality, appearance and temporal responses to potential romantic partners

  • Gareth Evans

Student thesis: Masters ThesisMasters by Research


There is substantial support that individuals make various social judgements which are important in the evaluation of romantic partners (reviewed in Chapter 1). However, relatively little research considers the role of temporal factors in mate choice, such as the extent to which choices may be relatively stable across time and/or factors that predict deliberation when choosing a mate. Two studies in this thesis explore the extent to which i) Behavioral Inhibition (BIS)/and Behavioral Activation (BAS) is correlated with decision making time when responding to faces of desired personality traits and ii) whether judgements of attractiveness/dominance in faces are valid guides to high or low BIS/BAS. In Chapter 2, inhibited participants took longer to accept a hypothetical dating offer from an attractive face, when measured within a one second timeframe. In Chapter 3, findings suggest that perceived attractiveness is a valid guide to BAS (i.e. sensation/fun-seeking, drive) in women’s faces and provide preliminary evidence for a dissociable relationship – while BAS is more strongly related to perceived attractiveness than perceived dominance in the same female face prototypes, (low) BIS is more strongly related to perceived dominance than perceived attractiveness in the same female face prototypes. Collectively the findings of this thesis suggest that personality shapes deliberation in response to a ‘rewarding’ stimulus (an attractive face) and provides early work to suggest that (in women) social treatment of others based on appearance may shape the development of traits related to BAS. Directions for future research are then discussed (Chapter 4).
Date of AwardAug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Abertay University
SupervisorChristopher Watkins (Supervisor) & Lynn Wright (Supervisor)


  • Personality
  • Appearance
  • Romantic partners

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