On SAGE Insight: When it comes to matters of the heart, we tend to love what we currently have: Status quo preference in mate choice

Article title: I Have, Therefore I Love: Status Quo Preference in Mate Choice

From Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

One of the most important decisions in our life is choosing “the one”. Decades of research indicate that individuals adhere to existing states (“status quo bias”) and value them more (“endowment effect”). This research is the first to investigate status quo preference within the context of trade-offs in mate choice. Across seven studies, participants indicated whether they would prefer remaining with a current partner possessing a particular set of traits (e.g., high trustworthiness, low attractiveness) or switching to an alternative partner possessing opposite traits. One reason why individuals persist in relationships is simply the desire to maintain the status quo this opens a new window into understanding persistence in relationships.  The findings indicate that when it comes to matters of the heart, we tend to love what we currently have.

Abstract

Decades of research indicate that individuals adhere to existing states (“status quo bias”) and value them more (“endowment effect”). The present work is the first to investigate status quo preference within the context of trade-offs in mate choice. Across seven studies (total N = 1,567), participants indicated whether they would prefer remaining with a current partner possessing a particular set of traits (e.g., high trustworthiness, low attractiveness) or switching to an alternative partner possessing opposite traits. Preference for a given trait was highest when the individual representing the status quo (one’s romantic partner or an interaction partner) possessed that trait. Concerns about hurting the partner, ambiguity avoidance, and biased construal of the partner and the alternative predicted status quo preference and disapproval of the current partner by network members eliminated this effect. These findings indicate that when it comes to matters of the heart, we tend to love what we currently have.

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Article details
I Have, Therefore I Love: Status Quo Preference in Mate Choice
Gul Gunaydin, Emre Selcuk, Cansu Yilmaz, Cindy Hazan
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,
First Published 24 Dec 2017
DOI: 10.1177/0146167217746339
From Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

 

 

     
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