People with similar levels of physical attractiveness tend to date each other, and more attractive people appear to be more particular about the physical attractiveness of their suitors, according to a study.
The study by Columbia University researchers has also revealed that people prefer to date those who are moderately more attractive than they are.
The researchers analysed two data sets from an online dating site called HOTorNOT.com. While one set of data contained members' dating requests, the other contained the attractiveness ratings of other members.
Both data sets also included ratings of members' own attractiveness as rated by other members.
The study results showed that compared to females, males were more influenced by how physically attractive their potential dates were, but less affected by how attractive they themselves were, when deciding whom to date.
The research team also observed that regardless of how attractive people themselves were, they seem to judge others' attractiveness in similar ways, supporting the notion that people have largely universal, culturally independent standards of beauty like symmetric faces.
The authors of the study say that its results indicate that people's own attractiveness does not affect their judgment of others' attractiveness.
According to them, people of different physical attractiveness levels might instead vary the importance they place on different desirable qualities in their dates.
In a follow-up speed-dating study, the researcher observed that more attractive people placed more weight on physical attractiveness in selecting their dates, while less attractive people placed more weight on other qualities like sense of humour.