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By the time of their separation in 2011, however, Kutcher, then 33 had crossed the minimum threshold (31.5) defined by the rule. Curious outsiders are quick to judge when they can see a wide age gap between two romantic partners. In a world in which many social norms are often unspoken, the half-your-age-plus-7 rule concretely defines a boundary.
But the rule does map perfectly onto actual reports of what is socially acceptable.
age boundary: Take your age, subtract 7, and double it.
So for a 24-year-old, the upper age limit would be 34 (17 * 2). How well does the rule reflect scientific evidence for age preferences?
Men do not show a linear increase in maximum age preference that matches the rule’s predictions.
The rule states that it is acceptable for 30-year old women to date men who are up to 46 years old, but in reality, 30-year-old women state that their max acceptable partner age would be less than 40 (around 37).Clooney has been scrutinized at times for dating younger women, though not consistently, and this pattern is nicely reflected in a graph of his own age, his partners’ ages, and the rule’s calculations for minimum and maximum acceptable ages.Only twice has he become involved with women whose ages were outside the rule’s guidelines.After 40, maximum age preferences for most categories remain lower than their own age.
Thus the rule for maximum age is fairly ineffective at capturing what men actually believe is acceptable. Now let's apply the rule to actual dating behavior by examining George Clooney’s dating habits.In Figure 1, the solid black line represents the rule’s calculation for the minimum acceptable range.