Sex differences in human mate preferences: Evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures
ABSTRACT 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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ABSTRACT: Responsiveness may signal to a potential partner that one is concerned with her or his welfare, and may therefore increase sexual interest in this person. Research shows, however, that this proposition holds true for men, but not for women. In three studies, one observational and two experimental, we explored a potential mechanism that explains why men and women diverge in their sexual reactions to a responsive opposite-sex stranger. Studies 1-2 showed that men, but not women, perceived a responsive stranger as more gender-typical (masculine/feminine), and in turn, as more attractive. Study 3 revealed that responsiveness increased men's perception of partner’s femininity. This, in turn, was associated with higher sexual arousal, which was, in turn, linked to greater partner attractiveness and greater desire for a long-term relationship. These findings suggest that whether or not responsiveness increases perceived partner attractiveness varies across individuals, depending on the contextually based meaning assigned to responsiveness.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 01/2015; · 2.22 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Men sometimes enact mate retention tactics to thwart a partner's infidelity or prevent their defection from the relationship. These tactics include low-risk acts that render the current relationship more attractive by bestowing benefits on the woman, as well as cost-inflicting acts that render defection from the relationship risky or dangerous for her. Previous research has linked men's mate retention behavior with men's mate value (value as a current or potential partner) using women's reports. The current research addresses limitations of that research using self-reports and cross-spousal reports from 107 married couples concerning their self-esteem and their esteem for their partner. The results indicate that the level of esteem that wives have for their husbands is positively associated with their perception of their husband's use of positive inducements and negatively associated with their husband's self-reported use of cost-inflicting mate retention behaviors (i.e., Direct Guarding, Intersexual Negative Inducements, and Intrasexual Negative Inducements). The level of self-esteem reported by men was negatively associated with their self-reported direct guarding behavior. Discussion explores the possibility that esteem—both self-esteem and esteem from one's partner—functions as an internal gauge of relative mate value.Evolutionary Psychology 06/2014; 12(3):655-672. · 1.05 Impact Factor