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Kindness is 'top priority' in a long-term partner

Cover Media logo Cover Media 22/09/2019

As the saying goes, it's "cool to be kind."

And according to a new study from academics at Swansea University, the concept is particularly relevant in relation to what we look for in a long-term partner.

The researchers asked over 2,700 college students from across the globe to build themselves an ideal lifelong partner by using a fixed budget to "buy" characteristics.

a person sitting at a table © Provided by Cover Media Ltd While traits like physical attractiveness and financial prospects were important, the one that was given the highest priority was kindness.

Participants typically spent 22-26 per cent of their total budget on kindness, and large parts of their budget on physical attractiveness and good financial prospects, while traits like creativity and chastity received less than 10 per cent.

In spite of some differences in behaviour between Eastern and Western students, the researchers also noted that there were also some remarkable similarities.

Interestingly, there were differences between the sexes too. Both Eastern and Western men allocated more of their budget to physical attractiveness than women, while women spent more on good financial prospects than men.

Accordingly, Dr. Andrew G. Thomas believes studying mate preferences across cultures is important for understanding human behaviour.

"Looking at very different culture groups allows us to test the idea that some behaviours are human universals," he said. "If men and women act in a similar way across the globe, then this adds weight to the idea that some behaviours develop in spite of culture rather than because of it."

Full study results have been published in the Journal of Personality.

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