Assortative mating for human height: A meta‐analysis
BACKGROUND Homogamy for body height has been repeatedly documented in Western societies. Nevertheless, the underlying mechanism is unclear and the reasons for its apparent absence in non-Western societies remain unexplained. AIM This study investigates spousal correlation and mate preference for height in the Japanese population. SUBJECTS AND METHODS This study analyses self-reported data on the height of individuals, their parents and their ideal marriage partners, collected by a series of questionnaires on university students. RESULTS In contrast to a previous study, this study found a significant positive correlation between the heights of Japanese spouses, after controlling for age. It also found a positive correlation between the heights of subjects and of their ideal partners, suggesting that an individual's self-referent preference may contribute to the observed homogamy for height. However, a subject's preference is also influenced by the height of his/her opposite-sex--but not same-sex--parent, where this effect is more prominent in male subjects. CONCLUSION This study shows that homogamy for body height is present in the current Japanese population and that it may in part result from an individual's preference. It also indicates a possible role of a sexual imprinting-like mechanism in human mate choice.