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mate selection, online dating, self-presentation, cross-cultural analysis Personal advertisements are inseparable components of many print media (Vičková, 1996).The aim of personal ads is not only to provide information about advertisers’ personal features and their mate preferences but also to mediate personal contact.As Sev’er (1990) stresses, personal ads contain sufficient information that reflects trend of mate choice, and thus they deserve systematic studies.Previous research of personal ads has linked declarations on ads with gender (e.g., Cameron et al., 1977; Pawlowski & Dunbar, 1999), age (e.g., Pawlowski & Dunbar, 1999; Sev’er, 1990), and many other personal factors.For comparative purposes, this study chose China and the United States to represent collectivist and individualist cultures respectively.The core ideas and norms of a culture can shape an individual’s internal representation of self and how the self is related to important others (Fiske, Kitayama, Markus, & Nisbett, 1998).According to Dion and Dion (1996), interpretations of romantic love and intimacy vary across culture.In particular, cultural differences can be observed in mate selection.
Through content analyzing two hundred Chinese personal advertisements and two hundred American personal advertisements posted on Chinese and American dating websites, the study found that culture had significant impact on patterns of self-presentation and mate preference.Women became less demanding as they aged, whereas men became more demanding.As discussed before, little research has considered cultural differences in the choice of contents of personal ads.One important part of personal ads is self-presentation through which the advertiser intends to establish a positive self-image.The self-presentation in personal ads may affect how readers perceive the advertiser and their willingness to contact him or her (Campos et al., 2002).
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More Chinese advertisers provided information on their physical appearances, health conditions, financial status, education, and morality, whereas more American advertisers wrote about their personality and hobbies.