Patterns of charaterization in folktales across geographical regions and levels of cultural complexity: literature as a neglected source of quantitative data

Human Nature Vol/Iss. 14 Published In Pages: 365-382
By Gottschall, Jonathan, Berkey, Rachel, Cawson, Mitchell, Drown, Carly, Fleischner, Matthew, Glotzbecker, Melissa, Kernan, Kimberly, Magnan, Tyler, Muse, Kate, Ogburn, Celeste, Patterson, Stephen, Skeels, Christopher, St. Joseph, Stephanie, Weeks, Shawna, Welsh, Alison, Welch, Erin


In folktales, males will place a higher emphasis on the physical attractiveness of potential mates and females will place a greater emphasis on a potential mate's capacity to gain and hold social and material resources (370).


Support for this hypothesis also found in the physical descriptions of characters (information on attractiveness is more than twice as likely to be given about female characters than male characters) and in descriptions of characters' primary motivations (men are significantly more likely to be motivated to gain social status and wealth, p< .001).


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail


Variable NameVariable Type OCM Term(s)
Gender Of CharacterIndependentLiterary Texts, Gender Roles And Issues
Mate PreferenceDependentBasis Of Marriage