London: One of the top qualities that people look for in a long-term relationship is kindness, a new research suggests.
For the study published in the Journal of Personality, the research team picked over 2,700 college students from across the globe and asked them to build themselves an ideal lifelong partner by using a fixed budget to 'buy' characteristics.
While traits like physical attractiveness and financial prospects were important, the one that was given the highest priority was kindness, said the researchers.
"Looking at very different culture groups allows us to test the idea that some behaviours are human universals. If men and women act in a similar way across the globe, then this adds weight to the idea that some behaviours develop in spite of culture rather than because of it," said study principle researcher Andrew G. Thomas from Swansea University in Britain.
The study compared the dating preferences of students from Eastern countries including Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, and Western countries such as the UK, Norway and Australia.
Students were given eight attributes they could spend 'mate dollars' on physical attractiveness, good financial prospects, kindness, humour, chastity, religiosity, the desire for children and creativity.
People typically spent 22-26 per cent of their total budget on kindness and large parts of their budget on physical attractiveness and good financial prospects, while traits like creativity and chastity received less than 10 per cent.
The results also showed a difference in a partner's desire for children, which was a priority only for Western women.