Buss, David M. 1989. “Sex Differences in Human Mate Preferences: Evolutionary Hypotheses Tested in 37 Cultures.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Behavioral and Brain Sciences (Impact Factor: 20.77). 02/1989; 12(01):1 - 14. DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X00023992


Contemporary mate preferences can provide important clues to human reproductive history. Little is known about which characteristics people value in potential mates. Five predictions were made about sex differences in human mate preferences based on evolutionary conceptions of parental investment, sexual selection, human reproductive capacity, and sexual asymmetries regarding certainty of paternity versus maternity. The predictions centered on how each sex valued earning capacity, ambition— industriousness, youth, physical attractiveness, and chastity. Predictions were tested in data from 37 samples drawn from 33 countries located on six continents and five islands (total N = 10,047). For 27 countries, demographic data on actual age at marriage provided a validity check on questionnaire data. Females were found to value cues to resource acquisition in potential mates more highly than males. Characteristics signaling reproductive capacity were valued more by males than by females. These sex differences may reflect different evolutionary selection pressures on human males and females; they provide powerful cross-cultural evidence of current sex differences in reproductive strategies. Discussion focuses on proximate mechanisms underlying mate preferences, consequences for human intrasexual competition, and the limitations of this study.

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    • "However in both scenarios it is unclear if the effect should be visible in both men and women . It is men who place a greater importance on attractiveness than women ( Buss , 1989 , 1994 / 2003 ; Sprecher et al . , 1994 ) . "
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    ABSTRACT: Empathy is a process that comprises affective sharing, imagining, and understanding the emotions and mental states of others. The brain structures involved in empathy for physical pain include the anterior insula (AI), and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). High empathy may lead people to undertake pro-social behavior. It is important to understand how this process can be changed, and what factors these empathic responses depend on. Physical attractiveness is a major social and evolutional cue, playing a role in the formation of interpersonal evaluation. The aim of the study was to determine how attractiveness affects the level of empathy both in relation to self-rated behavior and in terms of activation of specific empathy-related brain regions. Twenty-seven subjects (14 female and 13 male) were studied using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) method while they were watching short video scenes involving physically more and less attractive men and women who exhibited pain responses. In the absence of behavioral effects in compassion ratings, we observed stronger activation in empathic brain structures (ACC; AI) for less attractive men and for attractive women than for attractive men. Evolutionary psychology studies suggest that beauty is valued more highly in females than males, which might lead observers to empathize more strongly with the attractive woman than the men. Attractive mens' faces are typically associated with enhanced masculine facial characteristics and are considered to possess fewer desirable personality traits compared with feminized faces. This could explain why more empathy was shown to less attractive men. In conclusion, the study showed that the attractiveness and sex of a model are important modulators of empathy for pain.
    Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 09/2015; 9. DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00236 · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    • "A large, cross-cultural study of human mate preferences found traits analogous to altruistic traits (i.e., " kind and understanding " ) were ranked most highly by both sexes (Buss et al. 1990). A significantly greater female mate preference was also found toward cues related to resource acquisition , thus giving further support to the notion that the potential for good parental investment in a mate shaped female mate preference in human evolution (Buss 1989). "
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    ABSTRACT: Evolutionary theory predicts rigorous competition in nature and selfish behavior is thus seen as its inevitable consequence. Evidence of altruistic and cooperative behavior therefore appears at odds with evolutionary theory. However, evolutionary psychology suggests that past environments may be different from the current environments that humans inhabit. Here it is hypothesized that competition in two past environments might have led to strategies that favored altruism and cooperation toward nonkin. First, the expansion of the human brain is seen as requiring long-term, quality parental investment to sustain it. Altruistic displays could well have signaled an ability and willingness to provide such parental investment in a potential mate and been favored as a result. Second, the development of extra-somatic weapons is seen as leading to competition within hominin groups becoming more costly as disputes would have become lethal A cooperative strategy could have achieved greater net fitness if the benefits of reduced involvement in such lethal disputes exceeded the costs of cooperation. Genes associated with human altruism and cooperation toward nonkin could thus have increased in frequency and come to be expressed in modern human populations despite the environments in which they evolved no longer being fully evident in the modern world.
    The Quarterly Review of Biology 09/2015; 90(3):295-314. DOI:10.1086/682589 · 4.89 Impact Factor
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    • "On peut en effet relever une certaine régularité, dans bon nombre de recherches récentes, à invoquer des facteurs sociobiologiques (prédispositions, tempéraments, adaptations évolutives ) pour rendre compte des inégalités entre les sexes. Pour l'essentiel, cet argumentaire sociobiologique s'appuie sur des méthodologies corrélationnelles comme les échelles de « self-report » (voir Buss, 1989 ; Sidanius et Pratto, 1999). Or, il est important de rappeler que toute inférence causale sur la base de telles mesures repose davantage sur les présupposés théoriques des chercheurs, souvent obnubilés par le "
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