WOMEN
09/07/2012 12:39 pm ET

Trophy Wives And Sugar Daddies Less Common Where Men And Women Are Equal

Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanozawa has written that "men in every single culture prefer to mate with younger women, and women prefer to mate with older men." And Nick Neave, also an evolutionary psychologist, wrote a few years ago that women are driven by their "primeval urge to hang onto a male provider," even if they live in modern societies and can financially support themselves. Devotees of evolutionary psychology — a discipline that seeks to explain our modern brains by looking to our prehistoric ancestors — have long argued that who we want to date, sleep with, and marry are determined by the basic needs that preoccupied our early human forebears. But a new study has cast some doubt on this, showing that the level of gender equality in our society can influence the kind of man or woman we want to be with.

Psychologists Marcel Zentner and Klaudia Mitura surveyed over 3,000 people from 10 countries (South Korea, Mexico, Turkey, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Finland, the Philippines, Germany, and the US) about what they were looking for in a partner. Specifically, they asked participants to rate the importance they placed on the following traits: high earning potential, ambition/industriousness, good looks, chastity, high social status, education, intelligence, domestic skills, and being the right age. Then they looked at gender equality in the 10 countries, as measured by factors like women's literacy and education, their representation in positions of power and professional jobs, and their average income relative to men's.

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