Abraham P Buunk

Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands

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Publications (115)203.91 Total impact

  • Abraham P Buunk, Karlijn Massar
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    ABSTRACT: It is argued that, while men may be intrasexually more competitive than women, to attract potential mates, men will, more than women, associate with same-sex friends who are attractive to the opposite sex. Therefore, more than women, men will choose more physically attractive and dominant companions in a mating context than in a neutral context. In Study 1 among 262 participants a mating scenario (going to a party) and a neutral scenario (seeing a movie) were developed, and it was shown that the mating scenario did indeed induce more a mating context than the neutral scenario. In Study 2 among 167 participants the hypotheses were tested by examining the preferences for a companion in both scenarios. The findings from Study 2 supported the predictions. In response to the mating as compared to the neutral scenario, men, but not women, found the attractiveness of a companion more important, preferred a more socially dominant companion, and found the social dominance of a companion more important. Men as well as women preferred in general companions who were less attractive than themselves, but preferred a more attractive companion in a mating than in a neutral context. The effects for social dominance were in general more pronounced among individuals high in sociosexual orientation (SOI). To conclude especially mens’ attitude towards same sex others in a mating context may be driven by the desire to associate, rather than to compete, with same-sex others who are attractive to the opposite sex.
    Anthropological Review 12/2014; 77(3):273-285.
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  • Thecla M Brakel, Arie Dijkstra, Abraham P Buunk
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Objective: Former cancer patients' quality of life can be improved by offering social comparison information (Brakel, Dijkstra, Siero & Buunk, 2012ª). Whether patients, however, benefit from the information may depend on how negative they perceive their present and their future. Design: We conducted a randomized experimental field study with a pre- and post-measurement. Dutch former cancer patients - recruited through different media - were assigned to a social comparison intervention condition or a no-intervention control condition (experimental condition n = 62; control condition n = 88; Mage = 52 years). In the intervention condition patients received a 20-minute computer tailored interview in audio format. Patients' present perceived life threat and future health expectations were measured at pretest. Main Outcome Measures: Quality of life and life satisfaction after 2 months were the outcome variables. Results: The intervention increased life satisfaction only in patients who experienced a high present life threat (ηp(2) = .08) and in patients who had negative future health expectations the intervention increased quality of life (ηp(2) = .05). Conclusions: Not all patients did benefit from the intervention; for some patients the social comparison intervention was even detrimental. Moderator analyses seem necessary to evaluate psycho-social interventions for cancer patients.
    Psychology & Health 03/2014; · 1.95 Impact Factor
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    Abraham P Buunk, Gert Stulp, Johan Ormel
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    ABSTRACT: A study among 1,881 adolescents (52.3% girls) with a mean age of 19.1 years examined the effects of parental social status upon intrasexual competitiveness. Whereas females were consistently more intrasexually competitive the higher the socio-economic status of their parents, males with parents of the lowest socio-economic status tended to be more intrasexually competitive than those with parents of medium socio-economic status, and nearly as intrasexually competitive as those with parents of high socio-economic status. Only among adolescents with parents of low socio-economic status were males more intrasexually competitive than females. Among males and females, higher levels of intrasexual competitiveness were related to a higher family income, to a higher occupational status of the father as well as of the mother, and to a higher educational level of the mother. Only among females were higher levels of intrasexual competitiveness associated with a higher educational level of the father. Males whose fathers had only elementary education had a relatively high level of intrasexual competitiveness. The results are discussed in the context of the multifaceted nature of human status, and the potential relevance of intrasexual competitiveness for individuals of high versus low social status.
    Evolutionary psychology : an international journal of evolutionary approaches to psychology and behavior. 01/2014; 12(5):1022-37.
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    ABSTRACT: The positive effects of partner support on pregnancy outcomes and maternal (mental) health are well established in the literature. Less is known about pregnant women’s perceptions of their partner and relationship, and whether these differ from those of nonpregnant women. Therefore, in the current study, data were collected through an online questionnaire among pregnant (n = 66) and nonpregnant (n = 59) women with similar demographic profiles. The results show that pregnant women reported feeling significantly more happy with both their partner and their relationship than nonpregnant women. Importantly, we did not find any differences in self-esteem or mate value between groups. Although the present study is mainly exploratory, we suggest that pregnant women may show a positive bias in the way they view their partner and their relationship, which in turn may be beneficial to her own as well as her child’s mental and physical health.
    Interpersona - An International Journal on Personal Relationships. 12/2013; 7(2):272-281.
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to test whether men perceive changes in their female partner's attractive-ness as a function of her fertility status. We further tested how both male and female self-perception varies in relation to female fertility status. This study benefits from the use of transvaginal ultrasonogra-phy to detect fertility during the regular cycle and the use of a within-subjects design in which romantic couples were followed both across the cycle and during hormonal contraceptive use. We find that men rated their female partner as more attractive near to ovulation (when fertile) as compared to during the luteal cycle phase or during hormonal contraceptive use. Moreover, our results point to a presently unrec-ognized negative consequence of hormonal contraceptive use on male self-perception, with men rating themselves lower in attractiveness when their partner was using hormonal contraceptives than when she was regularly cycling. In contrast, there was no difference across measures in female self-reported attractiveness. Results are discussed in terms of their potential impact on within-couple social dynamics. © 2013 Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Biological Psychology 12/2013; · 3.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In human societies, parents often have a strong influence on the mate choice of their offspring. Moreover, empirical studies show that conflict over mate choice between parents and offspring is widespread across human cultures. Here we provide the first theoretical investigation into this conflict, showing that it may result from an underlying evolutionary conflict over parental resource distribution. We present a series of evolutionary simulations in which we gradually expand a standard model of sexual selection by the stepwise addition of elements of parental involvement. In our model, females obtain resources enhancing their fecundity from both their chosen mate and their parents. Potential mates differ in their ability to provide resources and may signal this ability. Both females and their parents can develop a preference for the signal, with both preferences influencing the realized mate choice of the female. Parents may differentially allocate resources among their daughters depending on the resource-provisioning abilities of their sons-in-law. When fecundity returns on investment are diminishing, we find that parents invest most in daughters whose mates provide few resources. Subsequently, the daughters evolve to exploit this allocation rule through their mate choice, which is not in the parents' best interests. This results in a conflict over mate choice between parents and their offspring, manifested as an on-going divergence of offspring and parental preferences. We predict that the conflict should be most pronounced when fathers, as opposed to mothers, control resource allocation.
    Evolution and Human Behavior 11/2013; 34(6):405–411. · 2.87 Impact Factor
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    Karlijn Massar, Abraham P. Buunk
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigates whether gender differences in adolescents’ advertising judgments and purchase intentions are due to their level of involvement with the advertised product, and with the claim made in the ad, i.e. whether evaluative versus factual message claims are used. Male (n = 115) and female adolescents (n = 127) were randomly assigned to a mixed design. They read either factual or evaluative ads (between-subjects variable) about a product within and about a product outside their area of interests (within-subjects variable). Results show that when an ad contained a description of a high involvement product (i.e. the youth magazine), adolescent females were persuaded most by factual information, whereas when the ad contained a description of a low involvement product (the sports magazine), they were persuaded more by evaluative information. Adolescent males overall indicated a more positive attitude towards a high involvement product, but were equally persuaded by evaluative and factual information. We conclude that gendered advertising responses do exist, and that the level of involvement with the product advertised determines which type of message claim—factual versus evaluative—is most effective for each gender. Discussion focuses on theoretical and practical implications of these results.
    Psychology 07/2013; 4(7):547-552.
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    Kelly D Cobey, Christine Klipping, Abraham P Buunk
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to test the influence of hormonal contraceptive use on levels of female intrasexual competition. Twenty-eight women completed a scale for intrasexual competition on three occasions: when using hormonal contraceptives and when regularly cycling at a fertile and a non-fertile cycle stage. When using hormonal contraception, pair-bonded, but not single women, reported significantly lower levels of intrasexual competition than when regularly cycling at either fertile or non-fertile cycle stages. This effect remained significant when controlling for age, length of relationship and relationship satisfaction. Neither pair-bonded nor single women reported shifts in intrasexual competition across the menstrual cycle when fertile as compared to non-fertile. This study benefited from a within-subjects design and a more rigorous assessment of fertility status (transvaginal ultrasonography) than which is typical in the field. Results are discussed in consideration of the evolutionary literature on the stability of romantic relationships and fitness advantages associated with intrasexual competition.
    Evolution and Human Behavior 07/2013; · 2.87 Impact Factor
  • Shelli L. Dubbs, Abraham P. Buunk, Hirokazu Taniguchi
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    ABSTRACT: Previous research has demonstrated that parents and children often have conflicting mate preferences. The present research was conducted among 443 Japanese university students. Using an existing scale designed to uncover parent-offspring conflict over mate choice, the results revealed that children perceived having a potential partner with traits connoting poor genetic quality as being more unacceptable to themselves, and having a potential partner with traits connoting low parental investment and cooperation with the ingroup as being more unacceptable to their parent. A number of sex differences emerged. The highest potential for parent-offspring conflict existed between female offspring and their father, and female offspring also rated traits connoting low social status as being more unacceptable to their parents, particularly to the father.
    Japanese Psychological Research 07/2013; 55(3). · 0.33 Impact Factor
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    Gert Stulp, Abraham P Buunk, Thomas V Pollet
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    ABSTRACT: a b s t r a c t Physical characteristics, such as height, play an important role in human mate preferences. Satisfaction with one's own height and one's partner height seem likely to be related to these preferences. Using a student sample (N = 650), we show that women are not only more selective, but also more consistent, than men, in their partner height preferences. Women prefer, on average, a larger height difference between themselves and their partner (i.e. males being much taller than themselves) than men do. This effect is even more pronounced when examining satisfaction with actual partner height: women are most satisfied when their partner was 21 cm taller, whereas men are most satisfied when they were 8 cm taller than their partner. Next, using data from our sample and that of a previously published study (N = 52,677), we show that for men, height is more important to the expression of satisfaction with one's own height than it is for women. Furthermore, slightly above average height women and tall men are most satisfied with their heights. We conclude that satisfaction with one's own height is at least partly a consequence of the height preference of the opposite sex and satisfaction with one's partner height.
    Personality and Individual Differences 06/2013; 54(8):877-883. · 1.86 Impact Factor
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    Kelly D Cobey, S Craig Roberts, Abraham P Buunk
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    ABSTRACT: a b s t r a c t Research shows that women who use hormonal contraceptives (HCs) differ in their mate preferences from women who have regular cycles. It has been proposed that when a partnered woman either begins to use or ceases to use HCs, she may experience changes in her relationship since her preferences become incongruent with those prevalent at the time of her partner choice. This has not yet been directly tested. Here, in doing this, we aim to specifically test whether current and past HC use contributes to present levels of relationship jealousy. We find a significant interaction in levels of jealousy based on current HC use and HC use at the start of the relationship. When current HC use is incongruent with that at the start of the relationship, women report significantly higher levels of jealousy. Results are among the first to suggest that both current and past HC use may influence relationship dynamics.
    Personality and Individual Differences 06/2013; · 1.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutual mate choice is prevalent in humans, where both males and females have a say in their choice of partner. How the choices made by one sex constrain the choice of the other remains poorly understood, however, because human studies have mostly limited themselves to measuring preferences. We used a sample of 5782 speed-daters making 128 104 choices to link preferences for partner height to actual choice and the formation of a match (the mutual expression of interest to meet again). We show that sexual conflict at the level of preferences is translated into choice: women were most likely to choose a speed-dater 25 cm taller than themselves, whereas men were most likely to choose women only 7 cm shorter than themselves. As a consequence, matches were most likely at an intermediate height difference (19 cm) that differed significantly from the preferred height difference of both sexes. Thus, our study reveals how mutual mate choice can result in suboptimal pair formation for both sexes, highlighting the importance of assessing the mate choice process in its entirety.
    Animal Behaviour 05/2013; · 3.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We do not agree with the interpretation and evaluation of our article by Voracek. We feel that our results and our interpretation of the results are supported by our data analyses and do add to the current understanding of the relationship between 2D:4D and personality. We feel confident we can address many, if not all, of Voracek's criticisms. However, we fully agree that 2D:4D research would benefit from more replication and from the use of larger sample sizes. Aggr. Behav. 9999: XX-XX, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Aggressive Behavior 02/2013; · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: According to both the scientific literature and popular media, all one needs to win a US presidential election is to be taller than one's opponent. Yet, such claims are often based on an arbitrary selection of elections, and inadequate statistical analysis. Using data on all presidential elections, we show that height is indeed an important factor in the US presidential elections. Candidates that were taller than their opponents received more popular votes, although they were not significantly more likely to win the actual election. Taller presidents were also more likely to be reelected. In addition, presidents were, on average, much taller than men from the same birth cohort. The advantage of taller candidates is potentially explained by perceptions associated with height: taller presidents are rated by experts as 'greater', and having more leadership and communication skills. We conclude that height is an important characteristic in choosing and evaluating political leaders.
    The Leadership Quarterly 02/2013; 24:159-171. · 2.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pair formation, acquiring a mate to form a reproductive unit, is a complex process. Mating preferences are a step in this process. However, due to constraining factors such as availability of mates, rival competition, and mutual mate choice, preferred characteristics may not be realised in the actual partner. People value height in their partner and we investigated to what extent preferences for height are realised in actual couples. We used data from the Millennium Cohort Study (UK) and compared the distribution of height difference in actual couples to simulations of random mating to test how established mate preferences map on to actual mating patterns. In line with mate preferences, we found evidence for: (i) assortative mating (r = .18), (ii) the male-taller norm, and, for the first time, (iii) for the male-not-too-tall norm. Couples where the male partner was shorter, or over 25 cm taller than the female partner, occurred at lower frequency in actual couples than expected by chance, but the magnitude of these effects was modest. We also investigated another preference rule, namely that short women (and tall men) prefer large height differences with their partner, whereas tall women (and short men) prefer small height differences. These patterns were also observed in our population, although the strengths of these associations were weaker than previously reported strength of preferences. We conclude that while preferences for partner height generally translate into actual pairing, they do so only modestly.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(1):e54186. · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Abraham P Buunk, Ashley D Hoben
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known about current attitudes towards cousin marriages. Using data from a rural population in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, the present research examined how life history was related to attitudes towards cousin marriages in various ethnic groups. Participants were 205 parents from three ethnic groups. i.e., Mestizos (people of mixed descent, n = 103), indigenous Mixtecs (n = 65), and Blacks (n = 35). Nearly all men in this study were farm workers or fishermen. Participants reported more negative than positive attitudes towards cousin marriage, and women reported more negative attitudes than did men. The main objection against marrying a cousin was that it is wrong for religious reasons, whereas the risk of genetic defects was considered relatively unimportant. Cousin marriage was not considered to contribute to the quality and unity of marriage and the family. The three ethnic groups did not differ in their attitude towards cousin marriages. However, a slower life history was related to a more negative attitude towards cousin marriages, especially among Blacks, less so among Mixtecs, and not at all among Mestizos. In addition, and independent of the effect of life history, with increasing levels of parental control over mate choice, the attitude towards cousin marriage was more positive, but among men the attitude was more negative the more religious they were. The results are discussed in the context of theorizing on life history theory and the benefits and costs of cousin marriages.
    Evolutionary Psychology 01/2013; 11(2):442-458. · 1.05 Impact Factor
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    Evolutionary Psychology 01/2013; 11:350-364. · 1.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Evolutionary computer simulations are an important part of the theoretical biologist's toolkit (Peck, 2004; DeAngelis & Mooij, 2005; Kokko, 2007), offering insights into a range of fundamental evolutionary processes, not least sexual selection (e.g. van Doorn & Weissing 2004, 2006; Fawcett et al., 2007, 2011; van Doorn et al., 2009; reviewed in Kuijper et al., 2012). Like all theoretical tools, they must be used with care (Hamblin, 2012). Smaldino & Newson (2013, henceforth S&N) have challenged our recent work on parent–offspring conflict over mate choice (Van den Berg et al., 2013), arguing that our simulations rely on unrealistic assumptions and that our conclusions are not supported. But all four points of criticism they present are misguided. (1) The accusation that the handicap principle cannot work in our model is wrong; Fig. 1a in Van den Berg et al. (2013) clearly demonstrates that a costly preference for a signal of male quality does evolve. (2) The assertion that mutation bias drove male quality close to zero in our model is wrong; in fact, male quality reached very high, stable levels in our simulations. (3) The assertion that overcompensation was responsible for our results is wrong; parent and offspring preferences also diverge in the absence of overcompensation. (4) The alternative explanation offered for our results is wrong, because it predicts the opposite pattern to that we actually observed in our simulations. Below we address each of these misunderstandings and consider two alternative hypotheses suggested by S&N.
    Evolution and Human Behavior 01/2013; · 2.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The majority of research examining sex differences in risk-taking behavior focuses on overt physical risk measures in which failed risk attempts may result in serious injury or death. The present research describes sex differences in patterns of risk taking in day-to-day behavior among Dutch cyclists. Through three observational studies we test sex differences in risk taking in situations of financial risk (fines for failing to use bike lights, Study 1), theft risk (bike locking behavior, Study 2) as well as physical risk (risky maneuvers, Study 3). Results corroborate previous findings by showing that across these domains men are more inclined to take risks than women. We discuss how these findings might be used in an applied context.
    Evolutionary Psychology 01/2013; 11(2):350-364. · 1.05 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

658 Citations
203.91 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2009–2013
    • Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen
      Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
  • 2006–2013
    • University of Groningen
      • Department of Psychology
      Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
  • 2011
    • University of Stirling
      • Department of Psychology
      Stirling, SCT, United Kingdom
  • 2010
    • University of Queensland 
      • School of Psychology
      Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    • University of Oxford
      • Department of Education
      Oxford, ENG, United Kingdom