The Role of Personality, Emotion, Cooperation, Resources and Attractiveness Across Sexualities in Australia

Large Scale Decisions in Human Mating

Project dates: 09/07/2015 - 30/11/2018

Human mating is a central theme across a range of research disciplines (Sociology, Evolutionary Psychology, Biology, Demography and Economics). Of particular interest to all these fields, is the decision making process employed by humans when we choose a partner or mate. Behavioural economics has led a shift away from the normatively appealing purely rational-choice models in selection as they lack descriptive capabilities (Camerer, 1998).

Behavioural economists and wider behavioural sciences are fascinated with the impact and effect that preferences, personality and attitudes have on the decision making process. There can arguably be no greater economic decision than of that to pursue a (sexual) relationship with someone. Our partner and any resulting offspring can take more time and resources than any other decision we make.

The exploration of the variation in sexuality impacts the decision making process is in its infancy. Studies of preferences in mate selection have explored areas such as education, gender differences and racial preference (Fisman, Iyengar, Kameinca & Simonson. 2006, 2008). Other research has theorized of the impact of culture on the value of mates and their sexuality (Baumeister & Twenge 2002) particularly in relation to sex differences. And economists have even begun to model polyamorous sexuality (D’Orlando 2010) to try and understand both its evolutionary underpinning and its impact and implications for future fiscal policy direction.

Understanding the role of personality, emotion, cooperation, resources (education and income) and attractiveness across gender and sexualities, and its impact on the decision making process is of vital importance for wider behavioural science.

Funding / Grants

  • Funded by the BEST Centre (2015 - 2018)

Chief Investigators

Other Team Members

  • Scientia Professor Robert C. Brooks – University of New South Wales
  • Dr Khandis Blake – University of New South Wales
  • Professor Athena Aktipis – Arizona State University
  • Cari Pick (PhD Candidate) – Arizona State University
  • Jessica Ayers (PhD Candidate) – Arizona State University
  • Asc Professor Jaimie Krems – Oklahoma State University
  • Professor Adam Cohen – Arizona State University
  • Jordan Moon (PhD Candidate) - Arizona State University
  • Dr D. Vaughn Becker - Arizona State University


Other Partners

  • Giga Pty Ltd
  • Australian Sex Party
  • Eros Association
  • Max Black