Princeton University Library Catalog

The Mobile Dating Era: How Sexualized Images Affect Relationship Goals and Expectations

Soffer, Pamela [Browse]
Senior thesis
Fiske, Susan [Browse]
Shelton, Nicole [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Psychology [Browse]
Class year:
65 pages
Summary note:
Human mating is universal, but we still know little about the effects of using current online and mobile dating applications on perception and behavior. This study tested whether viewing a brief dating profile with a sexualized rather than nonsexualized photo, elicits a greater desire for short-term relationship qualities than long-term relationship qualities. 200 participants (71 men and 129 women), selected randomly from the Princeton University student body, completed an online survey in which they were randomly shown a sexualized or nonsexualized opposite-sex profile and asked to fill out a Relationship Expectations Inventory. As expected, women valued qualities related to friendship, partner prestige, and long-term relationships more than men, while men value qualities related to short-term relationships more than women. Further, men show a more drastic difference between conditions, such that when they are shown a sexualized profile as opposed to a nonsexualized profile, they tend to place more value on short-term qualities. When men are in the nonsexualized condition, they place significantly more value on long-term qualities. Implications for these sex differences and the changes in perception that occur when participants view a sexualized image in a hypothetical profile are discussed. Keywords: human mating, relationship expectations, long-term relationship, short-term relationship, sexualization, objectification, dehumanization, sexual strategies theory, social role theory, hostile sexism, benevolent sexism.