Bernhard Fink, Nick Neave, Gayle Brewer and Boguslaw Pawlowski

Variable preferences for sexual dimorphism in stature (SDS): Further evidence for an adjustment in relation to own height

Personality and Individual Differences

In contemporary Western populations, some physical characteristics are sexually dimorphic, and it is known that these traits also affect human mate preferences. Height is one such characteristic, and evidence suggests that females prefer taller over shorter males, indeed, taller males have been found to have greater reproductive success. However, relative height is also important with ‘Sexual Dimorphism in Stature’ (SDS) calculated as male height/female height. Pawlowski (2003) showed that people adjust their preferences for SDS in relation to their own height in order to increase their potential pool of partners. The aim of the present study was to replicate Pawlowski’s study on a larger sample of participants, and to investigate the universality of the reported preference adjustment within European societies. We present data of 1102 men and women from three countries (Germany, Austria, and the UK) that confirm Pawlowski’s original data on a Polish sample. Moreover, the mechanism of an adjustment of SDS preferences in relation to own height was found in all three countries, suggesting that height dependent partner preference is a genuine feature in Western societies.