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Study Examines Mating Influences

      A recent international study suggests that women who live in cultures that support a woman's power to choose her own lifestyle are less likely to seek power and wealth when choosing a mate.

      "The extent to which an environment supports or impedes a woman's attempts to direct her own destiny affects what she values in a man," lead researcher Tim Kasser, of Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., said in a statement. "When a female is provided with more opportunities to fend for herself, she will become less concerned with finding a mate who can provide resources for her."

      Researchers studied data collected in 1990 involving more than 9,000 men and women from 37 countries in six continents. Study participants were asked to rank 18 characteristics they look for in a mate.

      The study found that men from almost every country typically want attractive, young women. Many women looked for wealthy and powerful men, particularly in nations where women had limited access to education and reproductive resources, researchers report in the July issue of Psychological Science.

      However, in more developed nations, women were less likely to seek wealth and power in a mate in order to secure their own futures. For example, Scandinavian countries — where educational opportunities and reproductive resources are widely accessible — showed the smallest difference between the sexes on mate preference and little evidence of women wanting men who could provide for them and their families.

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