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SummaryHumans in many societies are known to mate, or marry, assortatively for a number of characters such as eye colour, height, IQ and place of birth. In this assortment an element of active choice may be involved. It is not known whether this choice is genetic. Two models of human mate choice are examined in which both males and females can express a mating preference. In the first, ‘sexual’ preferences can be expressed for any phenotype not necessarily one's own; in the second, preferences are only expressed for an individual's own phenotype. The results of the examination indicate how much active choice would be needed to account for the observed correlations between human mates, and suggest whether human mating preferences are more likely to be sexual or assorting.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Biosocial Science


Cambridge University Press (CUP)

Publication Date





193 - 206