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For the pattern metric, the answer is “yes, if people are evaluating a current romantic partner.” That is, to the extent that a current partner matches my pattern of ideals (regardless of level) across a variety of traits, I report more positive romantic evaluations about him/her.If people instead evaluate partners they aren’t currently dating, then the answer is again “no.” (The clearest demonstration of these effects is in Study 3 here as well as Study 4 here.) Importantly, new evidence suggests that the pattern metric has some statistical shortcomings (see Statistical Critique #2 below), so take these findings with a grain of salt.Answering this question typically requires measures of all three constructs, which we refer to as the ideal, the trait, and the evaluation, respectively.There are two ways to compute “match.” The first is the ideal × trait interaction, which captures the extent to which the fit between one ideal trait and the partner’s level of that trait predicts romantic evaluation, over and above the main effect of ideal and the main effect of trait alone. The second approach is that, for each dyad in your sample, you can compute a correlation between a participant’s ideals and a partner’s traits across multiple traits; this approach captures the relative fit between a set of ideals and corresponding traits. These two metrics are independent (Cronbach, 1955, called them elevation and accuracy).But there is not a single direct replication of such a study or a pre-registered study showing these effects; until such studies emerge, it seems prudent to trust the meta-analysis as our best understanding of this phenomenon.
They meander through these topics while trying to find something in common.
Not as lyrically compelling, we grant, but psychologically fascinating (if not downright bizarre).
No, because our dependent variables are typically evaluations (e.g., “how much do you love your partner? So in effect, the disconnect that we document is between two self-reported evaluations: I might say I want an extraverted partner (i.e., I evaluate the trait extraverted positively when considering an ideal romantic partner), but I do not desire a specific partner more to the extent he or she is extraverted (i.e., extraversion is not a “driver of liking” for me). Conceptual critique #3: Mate choice is multi-determined.
You can use either metric to predict the romantic evaluation outcome.
For the level metric, the answer is consistently “no”.