In mate choice copying, a male is more likely to be chosen by other females simply by being observed mating. A recent finding is that women are influenced in their assessments of men by the phenotypic quality of males' sexual partners. We recently proposed that the term ‘mate quality bias’ should be used to differentiate this phenomenon from ‘mate choice copying’. Here, under the guise of a dating preferences survey we replicated and extended some earlier results. We found that when presented to female raters, men are more desirable dates when they are depicted as having had relatively attractive (versus relatively unattractive) former partners, an effect that appears to be moderated by a second variable, namely the former partner's age. We did not find evidence for this bias effect when men rate women whose profiles have been similarly manipulated. These findings suggest the operation of a sex-specific mate choice mechanism.
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Vol. 47 • No. 2