Skyler Place, Peter Todd, Jinying Zhuang, Lars Penke and Jens Asendorpf

Judging romantic interest of others from thin slices is a cross-cultural ability

Evolution and Human Behavior

The ability to judge the romantic interest between others is an important aspect of mate choice for species living in social groups. Research has previously shown that humans can do this quickly observers watching short clips of speed-dating videos can accurately predict the outcomes. Here we extend this work to show that observers from widely varying cultures can judge these same videos with roughly equal accuracy. Participants in the USA, China, and Germany perform similarly not only overall but also at the level of judging individual speed-daters: Some daters are easy to read by observers from all cultures, while others are consistently difficult. These cross-cultural performance similarities provide evidence for an adaptive mechanism useful for mate choice that could be resilient to cultural differences. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.