The Effects of Inter-Race Exposure on Mate Choice in Caucasians
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Familiarity increases attraction amongst people. This can explain that people find composites of multiple faces particularly attractive, self-referent phenotype matching, and a preference for own-race mates. Given that places are increasingly more inhabited by people of different races and that interracial relationships are becoming more common, it was expected that greater familiarity with another race would reduce the cross-race effect and increase attraction to members of that race. I conducted an online survey asking heterosexual Caucasians who had experienced varying levels of exposure to East Asians to rate Caucasian and East Asian faces. They were also asked to rate Indian and African American faces which were included as misdirects. The findings showed a significant increase in attractiveness ratings for East Asians at a certain degree of familiarity for all participants and men, but not for women. Men gave higher attractiveness ratings in general whilst women appeared to be more critical in their judgements, which could be attributed to parental investment theory. Participants displayed an own-race bias due to giving Caucasians higher and less homogeneous ratings. A reduced cross-race effect led to higher and more variable ratings for East Asians. The participants’ attitudes towards East Asians also proved to affect attractiveness ratings. I concluded that exposure increased attraction to East Asians due to decreasing the cross-race effect and increasing positive attitudes.