Current Psychology

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 1062–1075 | Cite as

The role of prosocial behaviors in mate choice: A critical review of the literature

  • Manpal Singh BhogalEmail author
  • Daniel Farrelly
  • Niall Galbraith


Research has focused on the role of prosocial behaviors in mate choice, across both social and evolutionary psychology. Several studies provide strong support for the role of altruism in mate choice, whereby people find prosociality attractive in potential mates. As most research focuses on the role of altruism in mate choice, most research has found that people exhibit altruism towards attractive people, suggesting altruistic behavior is driven by mate choice motivation. Although studies have supported the notion that men’s altruism towards women is driven by mate choice, the findings are inconsistent, which may be due to the methodologies adopted by researchers. To our knowledge, this review paper is the first to critically review the literature concerning prosociality and mate choice. We provide an outline of the research thus far, methodological issues, and considerations for future research.


Mate choice Prosocial behavior Sexual selection Game theory 



We thank Professor Ken Manktelow for his valuable comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest. No human participants were involved in this study, as this paper is a review paper.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Psychological Research, Evolution and Human Behaviour Research Group, Department of PsychologyUniversity of WolverhamptonWolverhamptonUK
  2. 2.School of PsychologyUniversity of WorcesterWorcesterUK

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