David Schmitt

David Schmitt
Brunel University London · Department of Psychology

Ph.D., Personality Psychology, University of Michigan

About

116
Publications
329,115
Reads
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Citations
Introduction
My research interests include evolutionary and cross-cultural approaches to understanding personal relationships, sexual strategies, romantic attachment styles, and gender differences in human mating. I am also interested in the "Big Five" model of personality traits, risk factors for HIV/AIDS, and predictors of both sexual aggression and domestic violence across cultures. I am the Founding Director of the International Sexuality Description Project (Schmitt et al., 2003), a cross-cultural survey study that included samples from 56 nations representing 6 continents, 13 islands, and 28 languages. I am currently beginning the second wave of the ISDP and am looking for additional research collaborators. If you are interested in finding out more about the ISDP, please contact me.
Additional affiliations
January 2000 - present
Bradley University
Position
  • International Sexuality Description Project
Description
  • I am the Founding Director of the International Sexuality Description Project (Schmitt et al., 2003), a cross-cultural survey study that included samples from 56 nations representing 6 continents, 13 islands, and 28 languages.
September 1989 - August 1995
University of Michigan
Position
  • Research Assistant

Publications

Publications (116)
Article
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Reports an error in "Human status criteria: Sex differences and similarities across 14 nations" by David M. Buss, Patrick K. Durkee, Todd K. Shackelford, Brian F. Bowdle, David P. Schmitt, Gary L. Brase, Jae C. Choe and Irina Trofimova (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Advanced Online Publication, May 28, 2020, np). In the article, the...
Article
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Social status is a central and universal feature of our highly social species. Reproductively relevant resources, including food, territory, mating opportunities, powerful coalitional alliances, and group-provided health care, flow to those high in status and trickle only slowly to those low in status. Despite its importance and centrality to human...
Article
According to an evolutionary-adaptive version of sociometer theory, because men, more than women, have faced the adaptive problem of obtaining large numbers of willing short-term mating partners, positive associations between self-esteem and number of past sexual partners should be stronger among men than women. We correlated self-esteem with numbe...
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Evolved mate preferences comprise a central causal process in Darwin's theory of sexual selection. Their powerful influences have been documented in all sexually reproducing species, including in sexual strategies in humans. This article reviews the science of human mate preferences and their myriad behavioral manifestations. We discuss sex differe...
Article
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Much of the research on sexual attitudes has focused on biological sex as a predictor variable. This work has consistently demonstrated that men are more permissive in attitudes toward casual sex than are women. Less is known, however, about how other individual difference variables may shape sexual attitudes. In this research, we considered whethe...
Article
We argue that the target authors focus too much on adaptive behavioral responses and not enough on actual psychological adaptations . We suggest the Dark Triad traits may represent facultative, psychological adaptations sensitive to seasonal variance and food shortages. We document that shorter distances from the equator are linked to higher nation...
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Correlations among distinct behaviors are foundational to personality science, but the field remains far from a consensus regarding the causes of such covariation. We advance a novel explanation for personality covariation, which views trait covariance as being shaped within a particular socioecology. We hypothesize that the degree of personality c...
Article
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Previous studies have documented links between sub-clinical narcissism and the active pursuit of short-term mating strategies (e.g., unrestricted sociosexuality, marital infidelity, mate poaching). Nearly all of these investigations have relied solely on samples from Western cultures. In the current study, responses from a cross-cultural survey of...
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Previous studies have documented links between sub-clinical narcissism and the active pursuit of short-term mating strategies (e.g., unrestricted sociosexuality, marital infidelity, mate poaching). Nearly all of these investigations have relied solely on samples from Western cultures. In the current study, responses from a cross-cultural survey of...
Article
Hypotheses regarding positive versus negative assortment, initial assortment versus convergence, and active assortment versus social homogamy were tested on a sample of 100 heterosexual dating couples using variable- and couple-centered approaches. A modest to moderate degree of positive assortment was found for all Dark Triad measures, the highest...
Article
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In a sample of academics (N = 111), we quantified the dimensions underlying criticisms of evolutionary psychology in relation to criticisms of its parent fields (i.e., general psychology and evolutionary biology) and examined how various demographic and sociopolitical individual differences were related to these criticism dimensions. The five prima...
Article
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In their widely publicized paper, Joel et al. (1) make two empirical claims about sex differences in features of the human brain: (i) “…internal consistency [in individuals’ sex-differentiated brain features] is rare” (p. 15472) and (ii) the amount of overlap in sex-differentiated features of male and female brains “undermines any attempt to distin...
Article
Men's and women's personalities appear to differ in several respects. Social role theories of development assume gender differences result primarily from perceived gender roles, gender socialization and sociostructural power differentials. As a consequence, social role theorists expect gender differences in personality to be smaller in cultures wit...
Article
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Correlational research has linked mate availability to human sexual behavior, whereby unrestricted sociosexuality seems to be most common under conditions of female abundance. In this study, 71 heterosexual men were randomly assigned to one of two mate availability priming conditions, mate scarcity or mate abundance, and subsequently completed meas...
Article
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We studied cross-cultural associations between religiosity and mating strategies by examining empirical links between personal religiosity and permissive sexuality across 10 major regions of the world-North America, South America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Middle East, Africa, Oceania, South/Southeast Asia, and East Asia. We...
Chapter
In this chapter, evidence is reviewed regarding the reproductive strategies—and specialized mating psychologies—fundamental to humans. Cross-species comparisons and ethnological patterns observed across foraging cultures help to clarify our most basic human mating adaptations. Overall, extant evidence suggests there is no single mating strategy in...
Chapter
This chapter reviews cross-species and cross-cultural evidence regarding the mating strategies and specialized mating psychologies that may be fundamental to humans. Comparative features of social living, sexual dimorphism, and reproductive physiology across primate species reveal insights into the natural mating psychology. The extant evidence sug...
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The scientific field of evolutionary psychology has been characterized by some as particularly male-biased. For example, Meredith (2013) recently suggested a conspicuous undercitation of women exists in evolutionary psychology, and this exceptional male bias "has led to evolutionary psychology being better described as men's psychology as it is men...
Article
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How does the psychology of attachment relate to sexual permissiveness? Do some attachment–sexuality links differ as a function of biological sex? Are attachment–sexuality links truly universal across cultures or are some localized to Western populations? Across 10 world regions (N = 17,837), using multiple indicators of permissive sexuality, we att...
Chapter
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Psychologists have uncovered dozens of ways men and women differ in affect, behavior, and cognition. Social role theorists assume that men’s and women’s psychological differences solely result from sex role socialization processes and sociopolitical power differentials, and, as a consequence, social role theorists further assume psychological sex d...
Article
Although previous research suggests Big Five (BF) and Dark Triad (DT) traits (Narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy) are related to mate poaching, no studies have simultaneously examined the effects of both groups of traits on poaching. This study examined BF and DT personality traits, as well as their higher order factors as predictors of m...
Article
Attachment security is known to have various positive outcomes. Recent evidence, however, suggests that security, especially high levels of it, may also have negative outcomes. Three studies tested this possibility. Studies 1 and 2 showed a linear rather than curvilinear trend between security and positive outcomes, suggesting that even at high lev...
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Evolutionary psychologists have hypothesized that humans possess sex-differentiated mate preference adaptations. In the context of long-term mating, men are hypothesized to more strongly prefer cues to youth and fecundity, whereas women are hypothesized to more strongly prefer cues to status-related attributes. Eastwick, Luchies, Finkel, and Hunt (...
Chapter
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From an evolutionary psychology perspective, it is likely our species comes equipped with specialized psychological adaptations that influence the differing ways men and women pursue mating strategies. When short-term mating, men seem to preferentially desire easy sexual access and relax their mate preference desires so as to obtain large numbers o...
Article
Objectives Sexual selection theory suggests patterns of covariance among polygynous mating behaviors and ecological variables at the cross‐national level. We quantified national levels of polygyny using the human polygyny index (HPI), a ratio of men's to women's variability in the numbers of sex partners over the past year. MethodsHPI scores were a...
Article
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The Empathy (E) scale has been proposed as a theoretically and psychometrically more satisfying alternative to existing self-report measures of empathy. Its four scales (facets) cover both components (cognitive vs. emotional) and both reality statuses (fictitious vs. real-life) of empathy in pairwise combinations. Confirmatory factor analyses of th...
Article
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In a recent 10-nation study, Zentner and Mitura (2012) reported observing smaller sex differences in mate preferences within nations that have higher gender parity. As noted in previous research, and in a re-analysis of Zentner and Mitura's own data, sex differences in some mate preferences (e.g., long-term mate preferences for physical attractiven...
Article
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The current study examined the prevalence and structure of psychopathic traits in females and males using a very large world sample (N = 33,016, females = 19,183). Psychopathic traits were assessed with the Self-Report Psychopathy (SRP) scale, and structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to test the four-factor model of psychopathy (interpersona...
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The current studies examined how the Dark Triad personality traits (i.e., Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy) facilitate the strategic structuring of an individual's social environment in terms of same- and opposite-sex friends. In one study using normative questions (N = 267) and another using a budget-allocation task (N = 114), we foun...
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The Dark Triad of personality is composed of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. Despite the common belief that these traits are undesirable, the media is awash with characters that embody the Dark Triad. Characters like Gregory House, M.D., Batman (a.k.a. the Dark Knight), and James Bond all embody these traits and are some of the most...
Article
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Recent evidence seems to call into question long-established findings of sex differences in sexuality, such as differences in mate preferences and desires for casual sex. In this article, we place new findings in a broader evidence-based context and show that they confirm previous perspectives on human mating. A wealth of evidence from real-world s...
Article
This chapter begins by highlighting the sociological, macrolevel focus of previous work on the determinants of child support payments. We then highlight the value of addressing these issues from a psychological perspective. We argue that research and policy will benefit by embracing an explicitly evolutionary psychological perspective. We present s...
Chapter
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Several features of human fertility, such as age of menarche, age at first marriage, and total number of offspring, vary in significant ways across cultures. At least part of this variation may be attributable to evolved psychological adaptations designed to facultatively respond to varying local environments with different reproductive strategies....
Article
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This article provides a historical context of evolutionary psychology and feminism, and evaluates the contributions to this special issue of Sex Roles within that context. We briefly outline the basic tenets of evolutionary psychology and articulate its meta-theory of the origins of gender similarities and differences. The article then evaluates th...
Article
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Brief measures of individual differences are growing in popularity. The Ten Item Personality Inventory (TIPI; Gosling et al., 2003) increases administration efficiency and maintains construct validity, but sacrifices some internal consistency when measuring the Big Five personality traits. In a survey of 360 college students, we attempted to replic...
Article
From an evolutionary perspective, animal mate choice depends in large part on the natural mating system of a species. The natural mating system of humans, however, seems at first glance to contain internal contradictions. On the one hand, humans show several signs of having a monogamous mating system. For example, humans are highly altricial-we hav...
Article
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Despite highly replicable predictable differences between the sexes on various sexual desires and attitudes, critics of evolutionary perspectives argue against the biological origins of such differences, highlighting cultural explanations. Critics suggest that there are no cross-cultural evolutionary predictable, systematic differences. Eagly and W...
Article
Convenience samples from 48 nations completed a self-report measure of love called the “Emotional Investment” scale (EI; Schmitt, D. P., & Buss, D. M. (2000). Sexual dimensions of person description: Beyond or subsumed by the Big Five? Journal of Research in Personality, 34, 141–177). The seven-item EI scale possessed moderate to extensive internal...
Article
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Given the differential costs sexual and emotional infidelity posed for each sex, we hypothesized that humans have sex-differentiated damage assessment strategies to investigate the nature of a partner’s infidelity. Study 1 tested this hypothesis using a forced-choice dilemma in which participants (N = 172) indicated whether they would be more likel...
Article
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This survey (N = 224) found that characteristics collectively known as the Dark Triad (i.e. narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism) were correlated with various dimensions of short-term mating but not long-term mating. The link between the Dark Triad and short-term mating was stronger for men than for women. The Dark Triad partially mediated...
Article
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Reports an error in "Why can't a man be more like a woman? Sex differences in Big Five personality traits across 55 cultures" by David P. Schmitt, Anu Realo, Martin Voracek and Jüri Allik (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2008[Jan], Vol 94[1], 168-182). Some of the sample sizes presented in Table 1 were incorrectly reported. The correc...
Article
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People have a fundamental need to belong that motivates them to seek out social interactions with close others (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). Leary and Baumeister's (2000) sociometer theory (SMT) poses that people who succeed in satisfying this need have higher self-esteem (SE). This prediction was tested across three hierarchical levels: intraindivid...
Article
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Cultural differences in adult romantic attachment were investigated as part of the International Sexuality Description Project—a survey study of 17,804 people from 56 nations. Evolutionary theories of romantic attachment predicted that dismissing attachment should be associated with high-stress ecological environments. In support of this perspectiv...
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1 Abstract: As part of the International Sexuality Description Project, 13,243 participants from 46 nations responded to self-report measures of personality and mating behavior. Several traits showed consistent links with short-term mating. Extraversion positively correlated with interest in short-term mating, unrestricted sociosexuality, having en...
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Previous research suggested that sex differences in personality traits are larger in prosperous, healthy, and egalitarian cultures in which women have more opportunities equal with those of men. In this article, the authors report cross-cultural findings in which this unintuitive result was replicated across samples from 55 nations (N = 17,637). On...
Article
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The Big Five Inventory (BFI) is a self-report measure designed to assess the high-order personality traits of Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Openness. As part of the International Sexuality Description Project, the BFI was translated from English into 28 languages and administered to 17,837 individuals from 56 nati...
Article
Full-text available
The Big Five Inventory (BFI) is a self-report measure designed to assess the high-order personality traits of Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Openness. As part of the International Sexuality Description Project, the BFI was translated from English into 28 languages and administered to 17,837 individuals from 56 nati...
Article
Full-text available
The Big Five Inventory (BFI) is a self-report measure designed to assess the high-order personality traits of Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Openness. As part of the International Sexuality Description Project, the BFI was translated from English into 28 languages and administered to 17,837 individuals from 56 nati...
Article
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Cuckoldry is an adaptive problem faced by parentally investing males of socially monogamous species (e.g., humans and many avian species). Mate guarding and frequent in-pair copulation (IPC) may have evolved as anti-cuckoldry tactics in avian species and in humans. In some avian species, the tactics are used concurrently, with the result that mate...
Article
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The psychological intersection of biological sex, personality, and sexual orientation represents a unique prospect for investigating the evolution of human mating strategies. Evolved sex differences in human psychology may encounter different mating environments within homosexual and heterosexual contexts. The personality traits of homosexuals, if...
Article
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This review article begins by highlighting the sociological, macrolevel focus of previous work on the determinants of child support payments. We then highlight the value of addressing these issues from a psychological perspective. We argue that research and policy will benefit by em- bracing an explicitly evolutionary psychological perspective. We...
Article
Full-text available
The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) was translated into 28 languages and administered to 16,998 participants across 53 nations. The RSES factor structure was largely invariant across nations. RSES scores correlated with neuroticism, extraversion, and romantic attachment styles within nearly all nations, providing additional support for cross-cul...
Article
Full-text available
The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) was translated into 28 languages and administered to 16,998 participants across 53 nations. The RSES factor structure was largely invariant across nations. RSES scores correlated with neuroticism, extraversion, and romantic attachment styles within nearly all nations, providing additional support for cross-cul...
Article
Full-text available
To identify the universal dimensions of long-term mate preferences, we used an archival database of preference ratings provided by several thousand participants from three dozen cultures [Buss, D. M. (1989)]. Participants from each culture responded to the same 18-item measure. Statistical procedures ensured that ratings provided by men and women w...
Article
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Different evolutionary perspectives offer competing views on short-term mating and attachment. Some theories argue that short-term mating results from insecure attachment, particularly the maladaptive attachment features of low self-esteem, interpersonal distrust, social avoidance, and emotional instability. Other theories posit that short-term mat...
Article
My response to the commentaries highlights three main points. First, the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory (SOI) has demonstrated adequate reliability and validity across dozens of studies, and it deserves its reputation as a useful measure of basic human mating strategies. Second, the sampling limitations of the International Sexuality Description...
Article
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The Sociosexual Orientation Inventory (SOI; Simpson & Gangestad 1991) is a self-report measure of individual differences in human mating strategies. Low SOI scores signify that a person is sociosexually restricted, or follows a more monogamous mating strategy. High SOI scores indicate that an individual is unrestricted, or has a more promiscuous ma...
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Sperm competition is the competition between the sperm of two or more males to fertilize a female’s egg(s). We examined how men under a high recurrent risk of sperm competition might attempt to prevent and correct their partners’ sexual infidelity. Three hundred and five males drawn from universities and surrounding communities rated their partner’...