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Human mate choice and the wedding ring effect

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Abstract

Individuals are often restricted to indirect cues when assessing the mate value of a potential partner. Females of some species have been shown to copy each other’s choice; in other words, the probability of a female choosing a particular male increases if he has already been chosen by other females. Recently it has been suggested that mate-choice copying could be an important aspect of human mate choice as well. We tested one of the hypotheses, the so-called wedding ring effect—that women would prefer men who are already engaged or married—in a series of live interactions between men and women. The results show that women do not find men signaling engagement, or being perceived as having a partner, more attractive or higher in socioeconomic status. Furthermore, signs of engagement did not influence the women’s reported willingness to engage in short-term or long-term relationships with the men. Thus, this study casts doubt on some simplified theories of human mate-choice copying, and alternative, more complex scenarios are outlined and discussed.

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... Such studies have generally been conducted in the laboratory but the same effects have been found when experiments are conducted in the wild (e.g., Witte & Ryan 2002). Several researchers have noted that mate choice copying may influence human mate preferences (e.g., Brown & Fawcett 2005; Dugatkin 2000; Uller & Johansson 2003), though as yet there is only limited evidence. Uller and Johansson (2003) found that the presence or absence of wedding rings on men, an indicator that the man has been chosen by another female, did not influence women's preference. ...
... ly been conducted in the laboratory but the same effects have been found when experiments are conducted in the wild (e.g., Witte & Ryan 2002). Several researchers have noted that mate choice copying may influence human mate preferences (e.g., Brown & Fawcett 2005; Dugatkin 2000; Uller & Johansson 2003), though as yet there is only limited evidence. Uller and Johansson (2003) found that the presence or absence of wedding rings on men, an indicator that the man has been chosen by another female, did not influence women's preference. A wedding ring, however, is indicative only of partnership status and provides no information about partner value or partner attitude (Jones et al., 2007). Jones et al. (2007) hav ...
... Alternatively, we would expect that copying would be more prominent in shortterm decisions if it functions to lead women to choose more indirect, or genetic, benefits. While most of the research into mate-choice copying has focused on the behavior of females (e.g. Uller & Johansson 2003), males might also mate-choice copy. Indeed, in a species where males have been tested, sailfin mollies, males are found to follow the apparent preferences expressed by other males (Schlupp & Ryan 1997; Witte & Ryan 2002). ...
Article
In non-human animals mate-choice copying has received much attention, with studies demonstrating that females tend to copy the choices of other females for specific males. Here we show, for both men and women, that pairing with an attractive partner increases the attractiveness of opposite-sex faces for long-term relationship decisions but not short-term decisions. Our study therefore shows social transmission of face preference in humans, which may have important consequences for the evolution of human traits. Our study also highlights the flexibility of human mate choice and suggests that, for humans, learning about non-physical traits that are important to pair-bonding drives copying-like behaviour.
... Minimalistic studies such as these may seem as though they would yield results that may not correlate highly with reallife activities, but there is a considerable literature suggesting that expressed preferences in these conditions are indicative of actual behavior (Digelidis, Papaioannou, Laparidis, & Christodoulidis, 2003;Muir & Ogden, 2001;Spence & Townsend, 2006). Although naturalistic study is desirable, relatively few studies have used dynamic stimuli or natural experiments (but see Bowers et al., 2012;Cunningham et al., n.d.;Place, 2010;Place et al., 2010;Uller & Johansson, 2003;Vakirtzis & Roberts, 2012b). Improved means to control extraneous variables, advances in technology, and new social conventions (e.g., speed-dating) may allow for increased naturalistic observation. ...
... Some methodologies used to study human mate copying have potential shortcomings or have been employed inconsistently. For example, in some studies, female associates are ex- plicitly described as being romantically involved with the target men (Eva & Wood, 2006;Little et al., 2008;Little, Caldwell, Jones, & DeBruine, 2011;Waynforth, 2007) or this can be reasonably assumed (Uller & Johansson, 2003), but in some instances the nature of their relationship is undefined (Chu, 2012;Dunn & Doria, 2010;Hill & Buss, 2008;Jones et al., 2007). In addition, whether a pair are currently, versus previously, engaged in a romantic relationship is sometimes, but not always indicated or distinguished (but see Anderson & Surbey, 2014;Yorzinski & Platt, 2010). ...
... As described in later sections, these methodological differences may have produced inconsistent results. However, despite such inconsistencies and a few studies reporting no mate copying (Milonoff, Nummi, Nummi, & Pienmunne, 2007;O'Hagen et al., 2003;Uller & Johansson, 2003), the weight of evidence collected so far generally supports the existence of mate copying in humans. ...
Article
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Mate copying, or mate-choice copying, refers to the heightened probability of choosing or preferring a prospective mate as a result of them having been previously chosen by another individual. First demonstrated in nonhuman species, increasing evidence suggests the phenomenon also occurs in humans. Mate copying may be considered a form of nonindependent mate choice, whereby individuals incorporate additional information supplied by conspecifics into the selective process. Such additional information would be especially advantageous to individuals (typically females) who face higher informational constraints in selecting mates, and who are subject to greater fitness costs in the process of selection or as a result of poor mate choice decisions. In nonhumans, mate copying occurs largely as a result of visual association, following a potential mate being observed in courtship with another opposite sex conspecific. In human beings, who use many informational modalities, including visual, verbal, social, and deductive reasoning, mate copying may be based on a wider variety of cues and factors. This article reviews the evidence for human mate copying, beginning with that predating, yet foreshadowing, recognition of the phenomenon. As the evidence is somewhat equivocal and inconsistent, an attempt to comprehend how methodological or other factors may increase, attenuate, or modulate the probability of human mate copying or its detection is undertaken. In particular, the additional roles of nonvisual or inferred information, such as a potential mate’s current availability, willingness to commit, their friendships with opposite sex peers, a former partner’s characteristics, the valence of information provided about a potential mate, expected duration of a relationship, and a rater’s level of experience in mate selection are considered.
... Although copying is considered to be an important aspect of human mate choice (Dugatkin, 2000), considerable negative evidence has been reported for human mate copying (Milonoff et al., 2007;Uller & Johansson, 2003). In humans, where most males will have at least one relationship in their lives, the mere female company is not sufficient to enhance a male's mate value (Little et al., 2008(Little et al., , 2011bUller & Johansson, 2003;Vakirtzis & Roberts, 2009. ...
... Although copying is considered to be an important aspect of human mate choice (Dugatkin, 2000), considerable negative evidence has been reported for human mate copying (Milonoff et al., 2007;Uller & Johansson, 2003). In humans, where most males will have at least one relationship in their lives, the mere female company is not sufficient to enhance a male's mate value (Little et al., 2008(Little et al., , 2011bUller & Johansson, 2003;Vakirtzis & Roberts, 2009. More recent studies have focused on the copying process that depends on the mate value of the model female (e.g., physical attractiveness). ...
... As women are generally cautious about sexual involvement, the lack of the necessary cues to make a proper decision has made it easier for them to reject the target man. Indeed, previous studies indicated that presenting copying-relevant information in the absence of other information is insufficient to elicit copying-like behaviors (Uller & Johansson, 2003). More research using a typical mate-choice copying methodology (i.e., presenting photographs of the target male alongside the model female) is required to clarify the relative contribution of information about male's past relationships on females' mate-choice decisions. ...
Article
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Mate-choice copying is a phenomenon whereby females assess the mate quality of males based on the mating decisions of other females. Previous studies demonstrated that the presence of a partner enhanced men’s attractiveness. Mate assessment is, however, error-prone, and the accepted male may turn out to be of poor quality after the relationship has progressed. This study extended the previous research by focusing on more reliable social information about male quality as a long-term partner: duration and interval of past relationships. Japanese female students (N = 201) were presented with a male profile containing information about past relationships, and they rated the target males as long- and short-term partners. The results confirm that information about a man’s long past relationship enhances the women’s desirability ratings for that man as a long-term partner. It was also found that a man with a long relationship was preferred by sexually inexperienced women, even in the short-term mating context, if the interval between the man’s past relationships was long. The study findings show that female mate choice is influenced by information about males’ past relationships, in addition to the information about male’s past partners discussed in previous studies. The finding for short-term mating suggests that it is used as a foothold for long-term relationships by females who may have lower mate value. The findings of this study add a new aspect to the non-independent mechanism of human mate choice.
... For example, desiring men that are simultaneously desired by other women lowers the chances of successfully procuring them (Hill and Buss 2008). Uller and Johansson (2003) asked women to interact with married or single men and answer a series of questions about them. Contrary to their expectations, women did not show a romantic preference for married men. ...
... Women assessing the attractiveness of a man as a romantic prospect may do well to take his romantic availability into account. As mentioned earlier, Uller and Johansson (2003) found women did not find currently married or engaged men more attractive than single men. Although having a current romantic association attests somewhat to a man's suitability as a partner, it may also increase the difficulty of securing his commitment. ...
... Therefore, mate poaching did not seem to drive mate copying and is likely a separate phenomenon. Men currently in a romantic relationship may be simultaneously seen as desirable, because of the approval they have been given by at least one female partner (mate copying), and undesirable because of, among other things, the difficulty of securing them as a partner (Uller and Johansson 2003). The latter effect could negate the former and contribute to the absence of mate poaching. ...
Article
Full-text available
A variety of non-human females do not select male partners independently. Instead they favor males having previous associations with other females, a phenomenon known as mate copying. This paper investigates whether humans also exhibit mate copying and whether consistent positive information about a man's mate value, and a woman's age and self-perceived mate value (SPMV), influence her tendency to copy the mate choices of others. Female university students (N = 123) rated the desirability of photographed men pictured alone or with one, two, or five women represented by silhouettes. In accordance with the visual arrays, men were described as currently in a romantic relationship; having previously been in one, two, or five relationships; or not having had a romantic relationship in the past 4 years. Women generally rated men pictured with one or two previous partners as more desirable than those with none. Men depicted with five previous partners, however, were found to be less desirable. Younger, presumably less experienced women had a greater tendency to mate copy compared with older women, but high SPMV did not predict greater levels of mate copying. The findings reaffirmed and expanded those suggesting that women do not make mate choices independently.
... Dugatkin (2000) first suggested that humans may also copy the mate choices of other individuals, particularly given the importance of social information in human mate choice. Inspired by Dugatkin's (2000) research on imitative learning and mate choice, and a popular article by Jonathan Knight (2000), Uller and Johansson (2003) tested the hypothesis that men who wear wedding rings enjoy elevated attractiveness as a form of mate choice copying. Women had short interviews with two men each, experimentally assigned to wear or not wear a wedding ring, after which they reported their preferences for the men. ...
... No evidence of a wedding ring effect (i.e. mate choice copying) was found (Uller and Johansson 2003). ...
... While MCC is best measured via number of copulations in non-human animals (Kraak 1996), studies in humans rely on indirect experimental approaches. In fact, the Uller and Johansson (2003) study was unusual in that it permitted direct interaction between subjects and models. Other tests of human mate choice copying have relied on more controlled experimental circumstances, and subjects are usually asked to judge a model's attractiveness or preferences for a romantic relationship with the model individual. ...
Article
Full-text available
Objective Mate choice copying (MCC) is a type of non-independent mate choice where the ‘probability of acceptance’ of a potential mate increases if they are observed to be chosen by others first. The phenomenon was first demonstrated in several non-human taxa, with studies on humans conducted shortly after. The effect has been consistently documented among women choosing men (female choice), with mixed results among men choosing women (male choice). To understand and test the overall level of support for MCC in humans, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis, including a sensitivity analysis for publication bias. Methods We found that the two most commonly used methods of studying MCC in humans involved either the ‘addition’ of a cue (opposite sex other) or the ‘augmentation’ of cues (manipulating ‘mate quality’ of opposite sex other). We performed separate meta-analyses for these two approaches, splitting each into male choice and female choice. Results Women were more likely to rate male targets as more desirable when presented alongside a female while no obvious effects were detected with male choice. These sex differences disappeared in studies that ‘augment’ cues, as both sexes rated targets as more attractive when in the presence of more desirable others. We also detected high levels of heterogeneity in effect sizes and a moderate publication bias in favor of positive reports of MCC. Conclusions Our results provide clarification for documented sex differences (or lack thereof) in human MCC. We also discuss the importance of method consistency in studies that transfer ideas from non-human to human behavioral studies, highlighting replication issues in the light of the publication crisis in psychological science.
... An emerging subset of the attraction literature has focused on the real or imagined trend of partner selection based on relationship status. The aptly labeled "wedding ring effect" (Uller & Johansson, 2003) is the idea that humans who engage in a process to identify a romantic partner will be more attracted to or desiring of persons who are presently unavailable due to their concurrent relationships with others. Proponents of this proposed phenomenon reason that an unavailable partner is more desired because he or she possesses qualities of high mate value. ...
... Since humans and non-human animals mate for reproductive reasons, the potential relatedness of their evolved mating strategies appears plausible. The notion that, like some non-human species, humans might also mate-copy was introduced by Dugatkin (2000), and was labeled later as the "wedding ring effect" by Uller and Johansson (2003). According to the logic behind this alleged phenomenon, if mate copying is an adaptive solution to quickly and efficiently identifying a mate of high value (i.e., suitable for reproductive or recreational sexual purposes), then humans, like animals, should benefit from the same copying strategy. ...
... To date, however, only a limited number of studies have examined the wedding ring effect directly (Eva & Wood, 2006;O'Hagen, Johnson, Lardi, & Keenan, 2003;Uller & Johansson, 2003). Despite the seemingly well-founded logic, research on the wedding ring effect has returned only conflicting evidence, with some findings supporting and others refuting the claim. ...
Book
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The wedding ring effect or mate-choice copying in humans is the notion that individuals, particularly women, have a greater preference for those who are currently involved in romantic relationships as their partners over uninvolved individuals. This book provides a thorough, critical review of previous research on the wedding ring effect and presents a study that examined two manipulated independent variables of romantic targets (i.e., relationship availability and openness to commitment), as well as one independent individual difference variable of participants (i.e., sociosexuality), in order to better understand the underlying mechanism of the wedding ring effect. The results revealed that a target?s high level of commitment, regardless of his availability, increased both his likability and romantic attractiveness for restricted maters. For unrestricted maters, neither target availability nor commitment had a significant effect on their liking or attraction. These findings appear to discredit the notion of the wedding ring effect and highlight the importance of target commitment and the moderating role of individual difference in women?s mate preference.
... Finally, a study with a British sample found that the attractiveness ratings a man received when presented alone did not, on average, differ from those he received when presented with the picture of his supposed girlfriend (Waynforth 2007). What can explain these mostly negative results is the different mating system of humans as compared with that of the other species where copying has been researched (Uller & Johansson 2003, Milonoff et al. 2007, Vakirtzis & Roberts 2009). The idea of mate-choice copying arose originally through observations of the highly skewed distributions of male mating success in leks (Bradbury & Gibson 1983, Losey et al. 1986, Wade & Pruett-Jones 1990). ...
... Taken together, the evidence we have discussed suggests that women almost certainly don't engage in mate-choice copying as females of other species do. An idea that is becoming increasingly popular in recent years is that, rather than being sensitive merely to if a man has a sexual partner or not, women could extract more information about a prospective mate by evaluating his current or previous partners' mate value, as revealed through her attractiveness (Uller & Johansson 2003, Waynforth 2007, Vakirtzis & Roberts 2009). We recently suggested that the term 'mate quality bias should' be used to describe this phenomenon, for its evolutionary dynamics clearly set it apart from mate choice copying (Vakirtzis & Roberts 2009). ...
... The experiment was designed in a way that minimized the danger of the raters simply being coaxed into adjusting their ratings of the prospective mates according to the images of the partners, as would perhaps occur if the two images were simply presented simultaneously without any other explanation (as they were in both experiments where the effect was found, Waynforth 2007). The goal was to mask the purpose of the experiment so as to ensure that any reaction to the independent variable would manifest spontaneously (as in Uller & Johansson 2003, Eva & Wood 2006, Milonoff et al. 2007). For this reason the image of the former partner was merely one among several sources of information. ...
Article
Full-text available
In mate choice copying, a male is more likely to be chosen by other females simply by being observed mating. A recent finding is that women are influenced in their assessments of men by the phenotypic quality of males' sexual partners. We recently proposed that the term `mate quality bias' should be used to differentiate this phenomenon from `mate choice copying'. Here, under the guise of a dating preferences survey we replicated and extended some earlier results. We found that when presented to female raters, men are more desirable dates when they are depicted as having had relatively attractive (versus relatively unattractive) former partners, an effect that appears to be moderated by a second variable, namely the former partner's age. We did not find evidence for this bias effect when men rate women whose profiles have been similarly manipulated. These findings suggest the operation of a sex-specific mate choice mechanism.
... Theoretical models of sexual selection assume that females are independent of other females when choosing male partners. However, some researchers have suggested that mate preferences can be highly variable within and between populations (Andersson, 1994;Wood, 2006;Hill and Buss, 2008;Place, Todd, Penke, and Asendorpf, 2010;Uller and Johansson, 2003;Vakirtzis and Roberts, 2012;Waynforth, 2007;Yorzinski and Platt, 2010). ...
... In one of the early studies of human mate-choice copying, Uller and Johansson (2003) reported a result opposite of their original expectations: Women did not show the wedding ring effect (i.e., they did not prefer men who wore a ring). Uller and Johansson suggested that human mate-choice copying could be a more complicated phenomenon than originally conceived. ...
... Uller and Johansson suggested that human mate-choice copying could be a more complicated phenomenon than originally conceived. Thus, compared to simply having a partner, who your partner is (i.e., the mate value of a man's partner) may be a more important influence on women's evaluation of these men (Uller and Johansson, 2003); however, it is important to note that investment consideration (i.e., an evaluation of how likely a potential mate will remain invested in the relationship and produce offspring) may also influence women's selection of an unattached mate over an attached mate (Vakirtzis and Roberts, 2010). Subsequent studies have shown that humans demonstrate mate-choice copying. ...
Article
Full-text available
Studies of humans and non-human animals indicate that females tend to change the likelihood of choosing a potential mate based on the decisions of other females; this is known as mate-choice copying. In a sample of both single and coupled women, we examined the influence of other women's (model) mate-choice decisions, including mate acceptance and mate rejection, on participants' attractiveness ratings of men (target) and willingness of mate selection. We also examined whether different types of relationships between the target men and the model women affected mate-choice copying. We found that both the single and coupled women showed mate-choice copying, but their response patterns differed. The significant effects for single women were dependent on a decrease in attractiveness ratings when they perceived the models' mate rejection. However, the significant findings for coupled women relied on an increase in attractiveness ratings when they observed the models' mate acceptance. Furthermore, the relationship status between the target men and the model women affected the magnitude of mate-choice copying effects for the single women. Specifically, they showed less mate-choice copying when the targets and models were in a committed romantic relationship than when in a temporary relationship.
... Waynforth initially tested whether the attractiveness ratings of men presented with a girlfriend increased compared with when they had been presented alone, as a mate choice copying hypothesis would predict. He could find no change, a negative result which corroborates earlier studies that had used different methodologies (Uller and Johansson 2003;Milonoff et al. 2007). A meaningful pattern in the data only emerged when Waynforth examined the effect of the Ó The Author 2010. ...
... In humans, the advantage lies in the much greater contribution physical attractiveness makes to female as compared with male mate value (the latter being more heavily dependent on nonphysical characteristics like social status and resourceholding potential), which renders the mate value of a man's mate much easier to visually assess than his own (Buss 1994;Uller and Johansson 2003;Waynforth 2007). Given that there is some cross-cultural variation in the relative importance women assign to men's physical attractiveness versus nonphysical characteristics (due, perhaps, to pathogen prevalence or other hitherto unidentified factors, see Gangestad and Buss 1993;Eagly and Wood 1999;Gangestad and Simpson 2000), it is straightforward to assume that the significance of mate quality bias should correlate negatively with this relative importance. ...
... Would human participants engage in less or more mate copying if they had to infer that interest themselves on the basis of observing real social interactions? Bridging the gap in experimental design by using more realistic presentations of interpersonal mating interest would give us a fuller understanding of when and how human mate copying happens in the real world, and could help overcome the small (or null) effect sizes and sometimes contradictory results of existing studies (Eva & Wood, 2006; Hill & Buss, 2008; Jones et al., 2007; Little et al., 2008; Uller, 2003; Waynforth, 2007). To surmount the restrictions of using pictures of individuals as stimuli, we presented our participants with video clips of pairs of actual singles on real speed-dates. ...
Article
When searching for a mate, one must gather information to determine the mate value of potential partners. By focusing on individuals who have been previously chosen by others, one's selection of mates can be influenced by another's successful search—a phenomenon known as mate copying. We show mate copying in humans with a novel methodology that closely mimics behavioral studies with non-human animals. After observing instances of real mating interest in video recordings of speed-dates, both male and female participants show mate copying effects of heightened short-term and long-term relationship interest towards individuals in dates they perceived as successful. Furthermore, the relative attractiveness of observers and observed plays a mediating role in whom an individual will choose to copy.
... Townsend 1989 Townsend , 1998), generally support these predictions. Most experimental studies (using photographic stimuli of men and their supposed partners which are presented to female raters) have failed to find a classical copying effect, i.e. a female preference for men in relationships versus single men (Uller & Johansson 2003, Milonoff et al. 2007, Waynforth 2007, but see Eva & Wood 2006, Parker & Burkley 2009). The model female's attractiveness is of paramount importance: women raters give higher desirability (e.g. ...
Article
Vakirtzis, A. 2011: Mate choice copying and nonindependent mate choice: a critical review. — Ann. Zool. Fennici 48: 91–107. The past two decades have witnessed an explosion of interest in nonindependent mate choice, i.e. female choice that is influenced by the choices of other females. This research has focused overwhelmingly on mate choice copying, which occurs when a female is more likely to mate with a previously mated male and reject a previously rejected male. I review the theoretical constructs of nonindependent mate choice and mate choice copying, and evaluate the general hypotheses that have been proposed to account for the adaptive significance of mate choice copying, namely that it serves to bypass the costs of mate choice or improve the discrimination accuracy of females. I discuss the standard experimental protocols that are employed in the study of mate choice copying and review empirical studies that have been conducted to date. Strengths and weaknesses of the mate choice copying research program are high-lighted, as well as possible directions for future research. While the suggestion that females may be influ-enced by each other's mate choice has appeared sporadically in the literature since at least the 1970s (e.g. Wiley 1973, Lill 1974, Bradbury & Gibson 1983), the systematic study of mate choice copying did not begin until the early 1990s. It was then that a string of seminal papers (Wade & Pruett-Jones 1990, Dugatkin 1992, Pruett-Jones 1992) formalized our concep-tual understanding of this phenomenon and laid the foundations for the large body of research that has since followed. Here, I will critically summarize the main findings of the literature, evaluate the progress achieved so far and suggest avenues for future research.
... Married women also differ from nonmarried women in that they have made a public commitment to one man and often wear a symbol of that commitment in the form of a wedding ring. A wedding ring is considered to be a strong and universal symbol of commitment to one partner (Chesser 1980;Uller and Johansson 2003). We reasoned that the physical act of removing or replacing a wedding ring should activate feelings of commitment because research finds that sensorimotor stimulation often translates to cognitions associated with that stimulus (Ackerman, Nocera, and Bargh 2010;Chandler, Reinhard, and Schwarz 2012). ...
Article
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Previous research finds that ovulation—the time each month when women are most fertile—can shift women’s mating psychology and increase their desire for new options in men. However, might ovulation also increase women’s desire for new products? Four studies find that women select a greater number of unique options from consumer product sets at high fertility. This effect is especially strong for women in committed relationships. Additional findings show that the fertility shift in desire for variety in products is driven by the fertility shift in desire for new options in men activating a variety-seeking mind-set. Subsequently, loyalty to a romantic partner, whether manipulated or measured, moderated the effect of fertility on consumer variety seeking. This research contributes to the literature by revealing when, why, and how fertility influences desire for variety in consumer choice and highlights the mating motives that underlie this effect.
... However, this female preference for an attached target was only expected to occur for single women. If attached men signal desirable resources and a willingness to commit to family life as some have suggested (Dugatkin, 2000; Uller & Johansson, 2002), then this signal should be more appealing to single women who are lacking such resources. Women who are in a relationship themselves have already found a mate who is willing to commit and so it is unlikely that they will be enticed by such prospects. ...
Article
Are women more interested in men who are already in a relationship? Female and male participants who were single or in a relationship viewed information about an opposite-sex other and indicated their interest in pursuing this target. Half of the participants were told that the target was single and half read that the target was currently in a relationship. The results showed that only single women were more interested in pursuing an attached target rather than a single target. We discuss how these results add to what is already known about mate poaching.
... Some earlier studies were more or less direct applications of mate choice copying, namely presenting female raters with male stimuli that were supposedly single or in a relationship and comparing the two groups. Men in a relationship are sometimes found to have an advantage compared to men who are single (Eva & Wood, 2006; Parker & Burkley, 2010) though often studies fail to find this effect (Uller & Johansson, 2003; Milonoff et al, 2007; Waynforth, 2007). Later studies, however, have often presented all males with a partner, and modified solely the attractiveness of this partner. ...
Article
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Nonindependent mate choice occurs when a female (focal female) is influenced in her mate choice by the choices of other females (model females), though sometimes male choice can be similarly influenced. In humans the study of this phenomenon has been almost exclusively experimental, with the perceived level of attractiveness of opposite-sex faces being influenced by manipulation of the attractiveness of their putative partner. As useful as these experimental studies are, the question of how validly they capture real-life social processes has not been addressed. Here we present the results of a questionnaire study which analyzed responses from 206 male and 175 female participants, both singles and people in a relationship. As predicted, paired men reported more opposite-sex interest than paired women, whereas the opposite was true for single respondents. Furthermore, the amount of opposite-sex interest reported by paired men correlated with the attractiveness of their partner, whereas this correlation between partner attractiveness and opposite-sex interest did not hold for female respondents. We suggest that this contrast is related to sex differences in benefits of nonindependent mate choice arising from sexspecific reproductive constraints. Our results are consistent with the kinds of effects recorded in laboratory studies, and provide evidence that non-independent mate choice plays at least some role in actual relationship dynamics. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
... The latter aspect is especially important when sperm production is limited by environmental constraints (Nakatsuru and Kramer, 1982;Verrell, 1982). There is increasing evidence that mate choice copying is not restricted to females, and males copy other males' mate choice as well (Witte and Ryan, 2002;Widemo, 2006;Bierbach et al., 2011b); this effect is also known from humans as the 'wedding ring effect' (Uller and Johansson 2003;Place et al., 2010). Especially for males of internally fertilizing species -such as livebearing fish from the family Poeciliidae -male mate choice copying remains a conundrum as males incur an increased risk of sperm competition when choosing another male's previous mate. ...
Article
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Multidirectional communicative interactions in social networks can have a profound effect on mate choice behavior. Male Atlantic molly Poecilia mexicana exhibit weaker mating preferences when an audience male is presented. This could be a male strategy to reduce sperm competition risk: interacting more equally with different females may be advantageous because ri- vals might copy mate choice decisions. In line with this hypothesis, a previous study found males to show a strong audience effect when being observed while exercising mate choice, but not when the rival was presented only before the choice tests. Audience effects on mate choice decisions have been quantified in poeciliid fishes using association preference designs, but it remains un- known if patterns found from measuring association times translate into actual mating behavior. Thus, we created five audience treatments simulating different forms of perceived sperm competition risk and determined focal males’ mating preferences by scoring pre-mating (nipping) and mating behavior (gonopodial thrusting). Nipping did not reflect the pattern that was found when association preferences were measured, while a very similar pattern was uncovered in thrusting behavior. The strongest response was observed when the audience could eavesdrop on the focal male’s behavior. A reduction in the strength of focal males’ preferences was also seen after the rival male had an opportunity to mate with the focal male’s preferred mate. In comparison, the reduction of mating preferences in response to an audience was greater when measuring association times than actual mating behavior. While measuring direct sexual interactions between the focal male and both stimulus females not only the male’s motivational state is reflected but also females’ behavior such as avoidance of male sexual harassment [Current Zoology 58 (1): 84–94, 2012].
... When asked about the age of sexual partners without restrictions (i.e., fantasies), both old and young men tend to prefer females in their peak of fertile years (Buunk, Dijkstra, Kenrick and Warntjes, 2001; Ellis and Symons, 1990; Kenrick et al., 1996). Social effects on perceived mate value and the degree to which it affects mate choice in humans have only recently been subject to detailed studies (Jones, DeBruine, Little, Burriss, and Feinberger, 2007; Little, Burriss, Jones, DeBruine, and Caldwell, 2008; Uller and Johansson, 2003; Waynforth, 2007). Although the primary aim of the present study was to provide tests of simple and broad predictions, there may be substantial variation also at a smaller scale, such as in relation to population density or social group (e.g., Koyama, McGain, and McGraw, 2002). ...
Article
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Evolutionary theory predicts the existence of relatively stable sex differences in partner preferences with, for example, males being more concerned with traits predicting high fertility and females with traits predicting high resource availability. We tested three predictions using personal advertisements from both traditional newspapers and internet dating services. In accordance with predictions, men offered resources more often than did women, and women requested resources more often than did men. Males in all age-categories preferred younger partners. Young females preferred older males, but the pattern was reversed for the majority of females past their fertile period. In contrast to predictions, there was no difference between males and females in the degree to which they offered, or asked for, physical attractiveness. Based on our results and a review of previous studies, we suggest that sex differences in factual or advertised preference for physical attractiveness may be more labile than sex differences in preference for resources and status across societies.
... Inspired by work on non-human animals, research also suggests social learning may influence human mate preferences (for review, see Little, Jones, DeBruine, & Caldwell, 2011). While some research has shown that the presence of wedding rings on men did not increase women's preferences for those men (Uller & Johansson, 2003), other studies have found that images of men labeled as married were more attractive than those labeled as single (Eva & Wood, 2006) and that women rated men as more desirable when shown surrounded by women than when shown alone or with other men (Hill & Buss, 2008). Another study has shown that women prefer pictures of men who were previously seen alongside images of other women who were looking at the face with smiling (i.e., positive) expressions than men who were previously seen alongside images of other women with neutral (i.e., relatively negative) expressions (Jones, DeBruine, Little, Burriss, & Feinberg, 2007). ...
Article
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Many studies show mate choice copying effects on mate preferences in non-human species in which individuals follow or copy the mate choices of same-sex conspecifics. Recent studies suggest that social learning also influences mate preferences in humans. Studies on heterosexual humans have focused on rating the attractiveness of potential mates (targets) presented alongside individuals of the opposite sex to the target (models). Here, we examined several different types of pairing to examine how specific social learning is to mate preferences. In Study 1, we replicated a previous effect whereby target faces of the opposite sex to the subject were rated as more attractive when paired with attractive than unattractive partner models of the same sex as the subject. Using the same paired stimuli, Study 2 demonstrated no effect of a paired model if subjects were asked to rate targets who were the same sex as themselves. In Study 3, we used pairs of the same sex, stating the pair were friends, and subjects rated targets of the opposite sex to themselves. Attractive models decreased targets' attractiveness, opposite to the effect in Study 1. Finally, Study 4 examined if attractive versus unattractive non-face stimuli might influence attraction. Unlike in Study 1, pairing with attractive stimuli either had no effect or decreased the attractiveness of paired target face images. These data suggest that social transmission of preferences via pairing with attractive/unattractive images is relatively specific to learning about mate preferences but does not influence attractiveness judgments more generally.
... Inspired by work on non-human animals, research also suggests that social learning may influence human mate preferences (for review see . While some research has shown that the presence of wedding rings on men did not increase women's preferences for those men (Uller & Johansson, 2003), other studies have found that images of men labelled as married were more attractive than those labelled as single (Eva & Wood, 2006) and that women rate men as more desirable when shown surrounded by women than when shown alone or with other men (Hill & Buss, 2008). Another study has shown that women prefer pictures of men when they are alongside images of other women who were looking at the face with smiling (i.e., positive) expressions compared to face stimuli in which the women had neutral (i.e., relatively negative) expressions (Jones, DeBruine, Little, Burriss, & Feinberg, 2007). ...
Article
Being paired with an attractive partner increases perceptual judgements of attractiveness in humans. We tested experimentally for prestige bias, whereby individuals follow the choices of prestigious others. Women rated the attractiveness of photographs of target males which were paired with either popular or less popular model female partners. We found that pairing a photo of a man with a woman presented as his partner positively influenced the attractiveness of the man when the woman was presented as more popular (Experiment 1). Further, this effect was stronger in younger participants compared to older participants (Experiment 1). Reversing the target and model such that women were asked to rate women paired with popular and less popular men revealed no effect of model popularity and this effect was unrelated to participant age (Experiment 2). An additional experiment confirmed that participant age and not stimulus age primarily influenced the tendency to follow others' preferences in Experiment 1 (Experiment 3). We also confirmed that our manipulations of popularity lead to variation in rated prestige (Experiment 4). These results suggest a sophisticated model-based bias in social learning whereby individuals are most influenced by the choices of those who have high popularity/prestige. Furthermore, older individuals moderate their use of such social information and so this form of social learning appears strongest in younger women.
... Rather than the human studies' presentations of still photos of purported mates, whom the observers might perceive as not even being a legitimate realistic couple, the animal study stimuli are Would human participants engage in less or more mate copying if they had to infer that interest themselves on the basis of observing real social interactions? Bridging the gap in experimental design by using more realistic presentations of interpersonal mating interest would give us a fuller understanding of when and how human mate copying happens in the real world, and could help overcome the small (or null) effect sizes and sometimes contradictory results of existing studies Uller, 2003;. ...
... Additionally, the studies presented herein all suffered from a lack of naturalism. While there have been previous tests of mate copying using paradigms involving actual footage (Place et al., 2010;Vakirtzis & Roberts, 2012a), and even live interactions between men and women (Agnas, 2016;Uller & Johansson, 2003) there has been no research directly comparing MC-like effects for static versus dynamic footage. Given that desirability evaluations among humans would possibly involve observations of dynamic physicality, the presentation of static stimuli and text descriptions may be inadequate to fully understand the richness of this phenomenon. ...
Article
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Humans are a social species with a high degree of information sharing. Character information is transferred between individuals frequently. Making a decision about who to mate with is one of the most consequential choices an individual makes, hence it pays to attend to any cheaply available mate-relevant information on offer. Building on previous research reporting a mating advantage for men romantically associated with women, here we present 3 studies examining the effects of being popular with the opposite sex. In all three studies men and women were presented with (and asked to evaluate) visual profiles of individuals of the opposite sex. Study 1 (N = 294) found that both men and women evaluate a man as more creative and socially skilled when he is attractive, and that women regard him as having higher mate value when his female friends are attractive. Study 2 (N = 233) found that men, but not women, considered profiles that were highly popular with the opposite sex to be more desirable. Study 3 (N = 765) found that neither men’s nor women’s desirability ratings of opposite-sex others were influenced by how popular that individual was with members of the opposite sex. It was concluded that while both men and women can be influenced by social information implicitly offered by others, this phenomenon is quite nuanced. Several possible theoretical and methodological explanations are considered, adding valuable knowledge to the existing body of research about mate copying propensity.
... Women may attend to which men other women find attractive and, as a consequence, find these men attractive, have sex with them, and have orgasms with them -all to reduce the costs of mate choice. However, studies of mate choice-copying in humans (e.g., Eva & Wood, 2006;Hill & Buss, 2008;Jones et al., 2007;Little et al., 2008;Place et al., 2010;Uller & Johansson, 2003;Waynforth, 2007) have focused on rating men, and on being influenced by women, all of whom were strangers to the female participants. In other words, it is unclear what role, if any, mate choice-copying has in the context of an established, long-term relationship. ...
Article
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Women’s copulatory orgasm may function to retain sperm from men with “good genes”, one indicator of which is attractiveness, and one benefit of which is pathogen resistance. Women who perceive their partner to be more (vs. less) attractive are more likely to report orgasm at last copulation. Another benefit of male attractiveness to women is that he may sire offspring that will gain the heritable share of this advantage (i.e., “sexy sons”). Research has not addressed the “Sexy Sons” Hypothesis (e.g., as indicated by women’s perception of other women’s assessments of their partner’s attractiveness) in regards to female copulatory orgasm. We secured self-reports from 439 women in a committed, heterosexual relationship and investigated the relationships between women’s orgasm at last copulation and (1) women’s assessments of their partner’s attractiveness and (2) women’s perceptions of other women’s assessments of their partner’s attractiveness. The results indicate that women mated to more (vs. less) attractive men are more likely to report orgasm at last copulation, and this relationship is mediated by women’s perceptions of other women’s assessments of their partner’s attractiveness. We discuss the mediated relationship, note limitations of the research, and suggest future research directions.
... They also seem to be more sensitive to other social cues regarding mating and rejection (see Feingold, 1992). For example, research has found that women are more likely to judge a man to be a desirable mate, and therefore be less likely to reject him, if other women are with him, particularly if these women are physically attractive (Uller & Johansson, 2003;Waynforth, 2007). This may be because certain traits (including ambition, status, wealth, and dominance) can be difficult to assess accurately using visual cues. ...
Article
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We argue that mate rejection and ex-partner relationships are important, multifaceted topics that have been underresearched in social and evolutionary psychology. Mate rejection and relationship dissolution are ubiquitous and form integral parts of the human experience. Both also carry with them potential risks and benefits to our fitness and survival. Hence, we expect that mate rejection would have given rise to evolved behavioral and psychological adaptations. Herein, we outline some of the many unanswered questions in evolutionary psychology on these topics, at each step presenting novel hypotheses about how men and women should behave when rejecting a mate or potential mate or in response to rejection. We intend these hypotheses and suggestions for future research to be used as a basis for enriching our understanding of human mating from an evolutionary perspective.
... Subsequent studies manipulated the relationship status of the target being evaluated (single vs. in a relationship), with mixed findings. Eva and Wood (2006) reported that women found married men to be more attractive than single men, yet Uller and Johansson (2003) reported no significant attraction difference between men when wearing or not wearing a wedding ring. These studies, however, did not include visual representation of the partners, and so raters could not know whether the partner was physically attractive or not, potentially influencing the studies' mixed results. ...
Article
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Mate copying is a social phenomenon whereby individuals differentially evaluate opposite-sex others based on their relationship history. Here we report two studies that aimed to look at mate copying in closer detail. In Study 1, women (N = 121) saw vignettes of men and women and made romantic evaluations of the pictured men. It was found that when women are evaluating prospective male romantic partners, they are aware of how much they consider the man’s relationship history, suggesting an awareness of mate copying. Study 2 used a similar methodology and found that women (N = 736) do not gain any additional information about a man’s specific traits from seeing him pictured alongside another woman, although the age of the evaluator does significantly affect how they perceive the man. The findings contribute to our understanding of mate copying as a nuanced phenomenon.
... However, 1 3 research focusing on whether copying behaviors exist in humans has yielded mixed results. Uller and Johansson (2003) examined the "wedding ring effect," in which women supposedly prefer men who were married or engaged to be married. Results revealed that the presence of wedding rings on men did not have any effect on attractiveness or willingness to engage in short-or long-term relationships with those men, conflicting with the idea of mate-choice copying in humans. ...
Article
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Mate-choice copying is a mating strategy wherein women rely on contextual information to assist in securing accurate assessments of potential mates. Mate-choice copying has been extensively studied in non-human species and has begun to be examined in humans as well. Hill and Buss (2008) found evidence of opposing effects for men and women in desirability judgments based on the presence of other opposite-sex people. The current study successfully replicated these findings with 73 and 44 heterosexual men and women, respectively. Heterosexual men exhibited the desirability diminution effect, and heterosexual women exhibited the desirability enhancement effect. The current study also extended these findings to include 73 gay men and 32 lesbian women. Findings for gay and lesbian participants were inverted compared to heterosexual participants. Gay men exhibited the desirability enhancement effect, and lesbian women exhibited the desirability diminution effect, revealing sex differences in mate-choice copying spanning different sexual orientations.
... Researchers have examined predictors of attraction to other partners in terms of sexual, romantic, and online infidelity (Allen et al., 2005;Martins et al., 2016;Negash, Veldorale-Brogan, Kimber, & Fincham, 2016;Thompson & O'Sullivan, 2016), the heightened attractiveness toward those in relationships versus those who are single ('the wedding ring effect'; O 'Sullivan & Vannier, 2013;Uller & Johansson, 2003), traits and relationship quality associated with mate poaching alternative partners (Belu & O'Sullivan, 2018;Foster et al., 2014;Schmitt & Buss, 2001;Schmitt & International Sexuality Description Project, 2004), as well as links between attention to others and relationship quality (Miller, 1997(Miller, , 2008. There is also a small body of research on directing one's attention away from attractive alternatives (Maner, Gailliot, & Miller, 2009;Maner, Rouby, & Gonzaga, 2008;Miller, 1997) and derogating the value of attractive others (Johnson & Rusbult, 1989;Lydon, Meana, Sepinwall, Richards, & Mayman, 1999;Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 1990). ...
Article
Potential alternative partners can threaten the stability of established relationships, yet a romantic or sexual attraction to someone with whom you are not currently involved (i.e., a ‘crush’) appears common for those in relationships (Mullinax, Barnhart, Mark, & Herbenick, 2016). This study assessed prevalence of such crushes, individual and relationship predictors, and links to infidelity. Adults ( N = 247, aged 25–45, 43.3% women) in romantic relationships completed surveys assessing individual characteristics (attention to alternatives, sociosexual orientation, attachment avoidance), relationship quality (satisfaction, commitment, intimacy), and infidelity. The degree of attention to alternatives predicted whether one had a crush on another while in a romantic relationship. Crushes were fairly common and seemed to have had few negative implications for those in established relationships. These findings will be of use to therapists addressing couples’ attraction to others.
... contact frequency, relationship duration; Berscheid, Snyder, & Omoto, 2004) or relationship status (e.g. married; Uller, 2003) in our model. Of course, however, the present model can be fruitfully used to understand why and how these dyadic outcome variables are influenced by social interactions via individual and relationship dispositions and vice versa. ...
Preprint
The interplay of personality and social relationships is as fascinating as it is complex and it pertains to a wide array of largely separate research domains. Here, we present an integrative and unified framework for analysing the complex dynamics of personality and social relationships (PERSOC). Basic principles and general processes on the individual and dyadic level are outlined to show how personality and social relationships influence each other and develop over time. PERSOC stresses the importance of social behaviours and interpersonal perceptions as mediating processes organized in social interaction units. The framework can be applied to diverse social relationships such as first encounters, short-term acquaintances, friendships, relationships between working group members, educational or therapeutic settings, romantic relationships and family relationships. It has important consequences for how we conceptualize, understand, and investigate personality and social relationships.
... The idea that women are influenced in their romantic choices by the choices of other women goes back at least to the 1970s [15], and recent years have seen a resurgence of experimental interest in this topic. Studies have shown mixed results: while some studies found that men in relationships were perceived as more attractive by the women raters [16][17], other studies failed to find this [18][19][20].Unlike most promiscuous and polygamous species where a copying process has been found, contemporary western societies do not exhibit a substantial male mating skew, and most men tend to have one monogamous partner at any given time [21][22][23]. In the absence of substantial male mating skew the absence or presence of a partner does not provide much information to other women. ...
Article
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In humans, as in other species, nonindependent mate choice takes place when females are influenced in their mate choice by the choices of other females. Previous studies have used almost exclusively experimental methods, with the most robust finding being that women tend to be more attracted to men who are paired with attractive women. Results, however, have often been conflicting, and the degree to which experimental methods are capturing real-life social processes has not been validated. In this study a self-report questionnaire was administered to a sample of young Greek men and women who were in monogamous romantic relationships. Participants also provided facial photographs of themselves that were rated for attractiveness. Men in these relationships tended to report more perceived opposite-sex interest than their partners, though this difference was not as clear or strong as expected. Furthermore the degree to which men - and women - reported opposite-sex interest was not related to the attractiveness of their partners. We discuss what might account for these unexpected results and suggest ways for improving the current methodology.
... Mate choice copying has been reported for various vertebrate taxa like birds (Höglund et al. 1990;Galef jr and White 1998;White and Galef jr 1999;Swaddle et al. 2005;Freed-Brown and White 2009) and mammals (Clutton-Brock and McComb 1993;Galef jr et al. 2008), including humans (Uller and Johansson 2003;Waynforth 2007;Yorzinski et al. 2010), but also in invertebrates (Mery et al. 2009; but see Auld et al. 2009). However, following Darwin's groundbreaking work on sexual selection (Darwin 1871) most studies assumed females to be the choosing sex due to their higher investment in oocyte production compared to males (Andersson 1994). ...
Chapter
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Mate choice copying was mostly described as a strategy employed by females to assess the quality of potential mates, but also males can copy other males’ mate choice. In both cases, focal individuals show an increased propensity to copulate with a potential mating partner they could observe interact sexually with another individual (the ‘model’). Sexual interactions, however, convey additional—partly conflicting—information to the choosing individual: females may try to avoid sexually active males due to a rougher courtship or coercive mating attempts, and males may respond to an increased sperm competition risk (SCR). How do females and males respond to different copying situations, in which the model individual either resides in the vicinity of a potential mating partner without physical contact (i.e., no harassment, and low SCR), or interacts sexually with the potential mating partner? Do individuals copy less in the latter situation? We investigated these questions in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata), a livebearing fish with internal fertilization, strong SCR among males, and frequent sexual harassment of females. Focal individuals could choose to associate with a large or a small stimulus fish, and mate choice tests were repeated after the previously non-preferred stimulus fish could be seen associating (low harassment and low SCR) or physically interacting (high harassment and high SCR) with a model individual. In a control treatment, no model was presented. We found both males and females to copy similarly in both copying treatments, while no response was observed in the control. This contrasts with a study reporting that Atlantic molly (P. mexicana) males copy less under elevated SCR. Even though we lack a compelling explanation as to why both congeners might differ, we are tempted to argue that strong(er) benefits arising from copying may have selected guppies to copy in a broader range of contexts, including situations where the choosing individual incurs harassment or SCR.
... Uller and Johansson (2003) provide an empirical study fails to substantiate the "wedding ring effect" and argue that a wedding ring in itself will not lead to the perception of high mate value. ...
Thesis
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An examination from both the ultimate and proximate causal directions reveals that indirect reciprocity is the intermediate causal model most responsible for the level of cooperation currently present in developed nations. As the sin qua non of natural selection, inclusive fitness is most greatly augmented through indirect reciprocity rather than kin selection. From a proximate perspective, an examination of the social functionalist architecture of the human brain substantiates this claim while highlighting the limitations of kin selection. Finally, contemporary technological and cultural innovations empower the mechanisms of indirect reciprocity while enervating those of kin selection.
... Firstly, Jones et al. [63] investigated the effects of gaze cues in the context of mate selection. A number of authors have suggested that social transmission of mate preferences is a sophisticated process that may differ from transmission of preferences more generally [94,95]; as such, the results of Jones et al. [63] may not generalise beyond that context. ...
Article
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People look at what they are interested in, and their emotional expressions tend to indicate how they feel about the objects at which they look. The combination of gaze direction and emotional expression can therefore convey important information about people’s evaluations of the objects in their environment, and can even influence the subsequent evaluations of those objects by a third party, a phenomenon known as the emotional gaze effect. The present study extended research into the effect of emotional gaze cues by investigating whether they affect evaluations of the most important aspect of our social environment–other people–and whether the presence of multiple gaze cues enhances this effect. Over four experiments, a factorial within-subjects design employing both null hypothesis significance testing and a Bayesian statistical analysis replicated previous work showing an emotional gaze effect for objects, but found strong evidence that emotional gaze cues do not affect evaluations of other people, and that multiple, simultaneously presented gaze cues do not enhance the emotional gaze effect for either the evaluations of objects or of people. Overall, our results suggest that emotional gaze cues have a relatively weak influence on affective evaluations, especially of those aspects of our environment that automatically elicit affectively valenced reactions, including other humans.
... However, most women have little difficulty identifying the end of a relationship, even if the relationship itself was very different from one she, or her cohort, had participated in previously (Morris & Reiber, 2011). A man who is already in a committed romantic relationship is often viewed as more desirable to women than an unattached man (Dugatkin, 1992;Uller & Johansson, 2003). This may be because he has been prescreened by another woman for resources and a willingness to commit to a romantic relationship or because of some other heuristic (Gigerenzer & Goldstein, 1996). ...
Chapter
Female competition for male attention is multifaceted. Typically psychological and relational in nature, this competition may be no less damaging than physical violence more commonly used between males. Research on female–female mate competition has examined short-term effects, yet how women cope with long-term effects of romantic relationship dissolution has been little explored. If negative emotions exist because they provide an evolutionary advantage (attuning physiological processes, thoughts, and behaviors to deal with situations that have frequently incurred high fitness costs), then emotions arising from the loss of a mate to a sexual rival may potentially motivate actions that could make one avoid this scenario in the future. This essay argues that there are consequences of female intrasexual mate competition that may be both evolutionarily adaptive and also beneficial in terms of personal growth and that may expand beyond mating and into other realms of personal development.
Article
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It has been suggested that mate-poaching behavior is an evolutionarily-adaptive mating tactic. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between lifetime number of mate-poaching attempts and mating success in a sample of 271 (147 women and124 men) heterosexual undergraduate students. Results indicated that for both men and women, the number of mate-poaching attempts predicted having more lifetime sex partners, more lifetime casual sex partners, and more lifetime dating partners. Mate poaching attempts did not however, predict differences in the attractiveness and social dominance of one’s most recent partner. These results provide evidence of the efficacy of mate-poaching in predicting mating success.
Chapter
Despite a growing infusion of the evolutionary behavioral sciences in general, and evolutionary psychology in particular, across a wide range of disciplines, the business sciences have been slow in recognizing the relevance and explanatory power afforded by this consilient meta-framework. Humans possess minds and bodies that have been forged by a long evolutionary history. Hence, to fully comprehend all of the human cognitions, emotions, preferences, choices, and behaviors that shape marketplace realities, be it those of consumers, employees, or employers, business scholars must incorporate biology and evolutionary theory within their theoretical toolkits. Scientists typically operate at the proximate realm, namely they seek to explain the mechanistic details of phenomena whereas ultimate explanations tackle the Darwinian forces that would have led to their evolution. Both levels of analyses are needed when investigating biological organisms including Homo consumericus and Homo corporaticus. KeywordsProximate and ultimate explanations-Consilience-Biology-Business-Interdisciplinary-Evolutionary psychology
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Inspired by studies demonstrating mate-choice copying effects in non-human species, recent studies of attractiveness judgements suggest that social learning also influences human preferences. In the first part of our article, we review evidence for social learning effects on preferences in humans and other animals. In the second part, we present new empirical evidence that social learning not only influences the attractiveness of specific individuals, but can also generalize to judgements of previously unseen individuals possessing similar physical traits. The different conditions represent different populations and, once a preference arises in a population, social learning can lead to the spread of preferences within that population. In the final part of our article, we discuss the theoretical basis for, and possible impact of, biases in social learning whereby individuals may preferentially copy the choices of those with high status or better access to critical information about potential mates. Such biases could mean that the choices of a select few individuals carry the greatest weight, rapidly generating agreement in preferences within a population. Collectively, these issues suggest that social learning mechanisms encourage the spread of preferences for certain traits once they arise within a population and so may explain certain cross-cultural differences.
Article
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Face preferences affect a diverse range of critical social outcomes, from mate choices and decisions about platonic relationships to hiring decisions and decisions about social exchange. Firstly, we review the facial characteristics that influence attractiveness judgements of faces (e.g. symmetry, sexually dimorphic shape cues, averageness, skin colour/texture and cues to personality) and then review several important sources of individual differences in face preferences (e.g. hormone levels and fertility, own attractiveness and personality, visual experience, familiarity and imprinting, social learning). The research relating to these issues highlights flexible, sophisticated systems that support and promote adaptive responses to faces that appear to function to maximize the benefits of both our mate choices and more general decisions about other types of social partners.
Article
En este trabajo se presenta el resultado de una exploración del valor simbólico del anillo de matrimonio en el contexto contemporáneo de la Ciudad de México, con base en la triple relación usuario-objeto-discurso; el caso se centra en mujeres usuarias. ¿Qué significa el anillo de matrimonio desde el punto de vista institucional?, ¿cómo transforman los usuarios, más concretamente las mujeres, dicho significado?, ¿con qué elementos contextuales se relacionan los posibles sentidos de la argolla? Son las interrogantes que se abordarán en este texto, en el cual se presenta el resultado de una pesquisa centrada en usos normativos y no normativos del anillo de matrimonio.
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El artículo analiza el trinomio fidelidad-compromiso- monogamia empezando por unas reflexiones del autor sobre la dialéctica del compromiso y su patología en las relaciones de pareja siguiendo con una revisión bibliográfica actualizada de los conceptos desarrollados. A continuación se presenta un estudio de investigación social (cerrado en junio de 2011 donde se muestra la percepción y actitud de la sociedad frente a temas como la fidelidad sexual y social y el compromiso en las relaciones de pareja. Concluye el trabajo con una propuesta de discusión sobre la mixtificación de los conceptos fidelidad-monogamia- compromiso. ABSTRACT: The article discusses the triad loyalty-commitment-monogamy starting from reflections of the author on the dialectic of commitment and pathology in relationships with an updated literature review of the concepts developed. Following is a social research study (closed in June 2011) showing the perceptions and attitudes of society towards issues such as social and sexual fidelity and commitment in relationships. The study concludes with a proposal for discussion on the mystification of the concepts fidelity-monogamy-commitment
Article
Individuals may integrate a wide range of information in their assessment of mate quality, and increasing empirical evidence suggests that the social environment in which mating occurs can have a profound effect on the strength or even direction of mating preferences. For example, animals may eavesdrop on other individuals' mating decisions (mate choice copying). In internally fertilizing species, such as livebearing fishes (family Poeciliidae), male mate choice copying leads to increased sperm competition risk (SCR) for both, the copying and the copied male hence, males are predicted to respond to the risk of being copied. In a comparative approach we show in this chapter the behavioral responses of males of nine species of livebearing fishes (genera Poecilia, Limia, and Gambusia) when a potentially eavesdropping male (the audience) observed them during mate choice. Our analyses detected no statistically significant differences among the examined taxa in the following three distinct responses to an audience male: (1) focal males significantly reduced their sexual activity, (2) interacted more equally with the two stimulus females when faced with an audience, and finally (3) were significantly more likely to approach the opposite (previously non-preferred) female at the beginning of a test unit. We discuss that these behaviors most likely represent counterstrategies employed by males to prevent other males from copying their mate choice, and these behaviors appear to be a general feature of poeciliid mating systems.
Article
The interplay of personality and social relationships is as fascinating as it is complex and it pertains to a wide array of largely separate research domains. Here, we present an integrative and unified framework for analysing the complex dynamics of personality and social relationships (PERSOC). Basic principles and general processes on the individual and dyadic level are outlined to show how personality and social relationships influence each other and develop over time. PERSOC stresses the importance of social behaviours and interpersonal perceptions as mediating processes organized in social interaction units. The framework can be applied to diverse social relationships such as first encounters, short-term acquaintances, friendships, relationships between working group members, educational or therapeutic settings, romantic relationships and family relationships. It has important consequences for how we conceptualize, understand, and investigate personality and social relationships. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Conservation laws and constitutive relations for a density-gradient-dependent viscous fluid as a multipolar continuum obeying an entropy inequality with generalized entropy flux and supply density are considered in this paper. A decomposition of the rate of work of dipolar stress, which reveals the contribution of various parts of this stress to the energy equation, is used to discuss the inconsistencies between the results obtained here and those obtained by Bluestein and Green [1] on the basis of the pioneering work of Green and Rivlin [8]. Furthermore, we discuss the connection between the model presented here and the materials of Korteweg type considered by Dunn and Serrin [6]. In particular, we relate the rate of work of dipolar stress and the interstitial working introduced by Dunn and Serrin [6].
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There is substantial evidence that in human mate choice, females directly select males based on male display of both physical and behavioral traits. In non-humans, there is additionally a growing literature on indirect mate choice, such as choice through observing and subsequently copying the mating preferences of conspecifics (mate choice copying). Given that humans are a social species with a high degree of sharing information, long-term pair bonds, and high parental care, it is likely that human females could avoid substantial costs associated with directly searching for information about potential males by mate choice copying. The present study was a test of whether women perceived men to be more attractive when men were presented with a female date or consort than when they were presented alone, and whether the physical attractiveness of the female consort affected women’s copying decisions. The results suggested that women’s mate choice decision rule is to copy only if a man’s female consort is physically attractive. Further analyses implied that copying may be a conditional female mating tactic aimed at solving the problem of informational constraints on assessing male suitability for long-term sexual relationships, and that lack of mate choice experience, measured as reported lifetime number of sex partners, is also an important determinant of copying.
Article
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Mate choice copying was mostly described as a strategy employed by females to assess the quality of potential mates, but also males can copy other males’ mate choice. An open question in this context is whether and how copying males evaluate sperm competition risk, as mating with a female that has already copulated with another male obviously sets the stage for intense sperm competition (i.e., in species with internal fertilization). Using the livebearing Atlantic molly (Poecilia mexicana) as a model, we asked (a) whether males of that species indeed copy other males’ choices, and if they do so, (b) whether copying males strategically adjust their behavior to sperm competition risk. We used an approach where focal males could first choose to associate with a large or a small stimulus female. Mate choice tests were then repeated after an “observation phase” during which either no model male was present (treatment 1, control) or the previously non-preferred female could be seen associating (treatment 2) or physically interacting (treatment 3) with a model male. We found that, after the observation phase, males spent considerably more time with the previously non-preferred female in treatment (2), i.e., they copied the model male’s choice. This effect was much weaker during treatment (3) where sexual interactions between the model male and the formerly non-preferred female were allowed. Males, therefore, seem to adjust their copying behavior strategically to the perceived risk of sperm competition. KeywordsCommunication networks–Mate choice copying–Non-independent mate choice–Sperm competition–Social environment
Article
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There is much evidence that humans, as other species, are affected by social information when making mate-choice decisions. Witnessing a rival show interest in a member of the opposite sex tends to lead human observers of both sexes to thereafter rate that person as more appealing as a potential mate. However, how this occurs is not well understood. We investigate whether this effect is specific to the individual witnessed or will generalize to other potential mates with shared characteristics—that is, whether humans exhibit trait-based or just individual-based mate-choice copying. We found that whereas this kind of generalization did occur with some traits, it appeared to depend on age, and conspicuously, it did not occur with (inner) facial traits. We discuss possible explanations for the age specificity and cue specificity in terms of informational benefits and how people attend to unfamiliar faces.
Chapter
Female competition for male attention is multifaceted. Typically psychological and relational in nature, this competition may be no less damaging than physical violence more commonly used between males. Research on female-female mate competition has examined short-term effects, yet how women cope with long-term effects of romantic relationship dissolution has been little explored. If negative emotions exist because they provide an evolutionary advantage (attuning physiological processes, thoughts, and behaviors to deal with situations that have frequently incurred high fitness costs) then emotions arising from the loss of a mate to a sexual rival may potentially motivate actions that could make one avoid this scenario in the future. This chapter argues that there are consequences of female intrasexual mate competition which may be both evolutionarily adaptive and also beneficial in terms of personal growth, and that may expand beyond mating and into other realms of personal development.
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Many of the qualities that people seek in a long-term partner are not directly observable. As a consequence, information gathered through social learning may be important in partner assessment. Here, we tested the hypothesis that finding out potential partners were rejected by their last partner would negatively affect participants' desire to pursue a romantic relationship with them. Results support this hypothesis, and this effect was, as predicted, greater when the target was being evaluated for a potential long-term relationship compared to a sexual relationship. In a more exploratory vein, we tested the effect of the target having rejected their last partner and failing to disclose how their last relationship ended. These scenarios produced intriguing sex differences, such that men's ratings of women fell after learning she had rejected her last partner, but women's ratings of men increased after the same information was introduced. Failing to disclose information about a past relationship was unappealing to both men and women, though particularly so for women.
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Men may gauge their own status by comparing themselves to other men in terms of how many sexual partners they have had. In so doing, men who have had more sexual partners appear to have higher status than a man with fewer past sexual partners. In Study 1, men were more likely than women to use their perceived amount of sexual success as a means of assessing status: accounting for the sex difference in reported number of sex partners. In Study 2, men viewed sexual success as more prestigious than women, as demonstrated experimentally. Men may be more likely to boost reports about their sex life both in real-life and in surveys as functions of (1) their perception that with more sex comes more prestige and (2) the desire to enhance their perceived status among others.
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There have been dramatic shifts in relationship structures and processes among young adults recently that reflect greater acceptance of casual sexual encounters and concurrent relationships. Yet social norms prohibiting attraction to and sexual connection with others outside an exclusive relationship appear to remain. The current study assessed whether relationship status of both evaluators and targets influenced perceptions of targets’ attractiveness and desirability as potential short or long term partners. Young adults (n = 195; 61% female) judged photographs of opposite sex individuals varying in relationship status, which was either known or not known to participants. Men rated women believed to be single as more desirable but equally attractive as attached women, whereas women rated men believed to be attached as more attractive but equally desirable as single men. Only female participants appeared sensitive to social norms prohibiting attraction to attached targets. Participants in relationships devalued all targets in terms of attractiveness and desirability, regardless of the quality of their own relationship. If norms are shifting to reflect greater “fluidity” in structures, then relationship status should have little or no impact on judgments. However, this was not found to be the case. Findings are discussed in terms of implications for research on attraction and relationship longevity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)
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Following two decades of research on non-human animals, there has recently been increased interest in human nonindependent mate choice, namely the ways in which choosing women incorporate information about a man's past or present romantic partners ('model females') into their own assessment of the male. Experimental studies using static facial images have generally found that men receive higher desirability ratings from female raters when presented with attractive (compared to unattractive) model females. This phenomenon has a straightforward evolutionary explanation: the fact that female mate value is more dependent on physical attractiveness compared to male mate value. Furthermore, due to assortative mating for attractiveness, men who are paired with attractive women are more likely to be of high mate value themselves. Here, we also examine the possible relevance of model female cues other than attractiveness (personality and behavioral traits) by presenting video recordings of model females to a set of female raters. The results confirm that the model female's attractiveness is the primary cue. Contrary to some earlier findings in the human and nonhuman literature, we found no evidence that female raters prefer partners of slightly older model females. We conclude by suggesting some promising variations on the present experimental design.
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Female mate-copying has been shown to occur between heterospecifics: female sailfin mollies Poecilia latipinna copy the choice of their gynogenetic associates, Amazon mollies P. formosa. Female mate-copying thus contributes to the maintenance of this asexual-sexual species complex by providing an advantage to male sailfin mollies that mate with Amazon females; because of mate-copying these males increase their attractiveness to conspecific females. Here we show that male mate-copying, an unreported phenomenon, also occurs and that it can reverse male preferences for conspecific females. Male mate-copying should also contribute to the maintenance of gynogens and might be advantageous in allowing males a means to rapidly assess female receptivity although sometimes resulting in heterospedfic matings.
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We determined whether female Japanese medaka (Oryzias laiipes) copied the choice of other females or independently preferred actively courting males. We allowed focal females to observe and subsequently choose between a male that courted and potentially spawned with a receptive female and a male that courted and was rejected by an unreceptive female. When the receptive female did not spawn, the focal female preferred the male with the higher courtship rate; whereas when the receptive female spawned, the focal female preferred the spawning male. Our results suggest that female medaka prefer actively courting males, unless they have the opportunity to copy the mate choice of another female.
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We performed four experiments to examine effects on the mate choices of female Japanese quail, Coturnix coturnix japonica, of observing a male mate with another female. Each experiment was conducted in three phases: (1) a pre-test during which subject females were allowed to choose between two males with which to affiliate; (2) an observation phase, in which subject females either watched or did not watch the male they had spent less time near during the pre-test (their 'non-preferred' male) copulate with a 'model' female; and (3) a post-test when subject females again chose between non-preferred and preferred males. Only females that had watched their non-preferred male mate with a model female during the observation phase spent significantly more time affiliating with him during the post-test than they had during the pre-test. Watching mating did not change females' criteria for choosing males, and non-preferred males that had mated recently were no more attractive to females than were non-preferred males that had not done so, unless subject females actually observed the mating take place. The results were consistent with the hypothesis that female quail copy one another's mate choices. Copyright 1998 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour Copyright 1998 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.
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Theoretical models of sexual selection assume that females choose males independently of the actions and choice of other individual females. Variance in male mating success in promiscuous species is thus interpreted as a result of phenotypic differences among males which females perceive and to which they respond. Here we show that, if some females copy the behavior of other females in choosing mates, the variance in male mating success and therefore the opportunity for sexual selection is greatly increased. Copying behavior is most likely in non-resource-based harem and lek mating systems but may occur in polygynous, territorial systems as well. It can be shown that copying behavior by females is an adaptive alternative to random choice whenever there is a cost to mate choice. We develop a statistical means of estimating the degree of female copying in natural populations where it occurs.
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The relative contribution of genetic and socio-cultural factors in the shaping of behavior is of fundamental importance to biologists and social scientists, yet it has proven to be extremely difficult to study in a controlled, experimental fashion. Here I describe experiments that examined the strength of genetic and cultural (imitative) factors in determining female mate choice in the guppy, Poecilia reticulata. Female guppies from the Paria River in Trinidad have a genetic, heritable preference for the amount of orange body color possessed by males. Female guppies will, however, also copy (imitate) the mate choice of other females in that when two males are matched for orange color, an "observer" female will copy the mate choice of another ("model") female. Three treatments were undertaken in which males differed by an average of 12%, 24%, or 40% of the total orange body color. In all cases, observer females viewed a model female prefer the less colorful male. When males differed by 12% or 24%, observer females preferred the less colorful male and thus copied the mate choice of others, despite a strong heritable preference for orange body color in males. When males differed by 40% orange body color, however, observer females preferred the more colorful male and did not copy the mate choice of the other female. In this system, then, imitation can "override" genetic preferences when the difference between orange body color in males is small or moderate, but genetic factors block out imitation effects when the difference in orange body color in males is large. This experiment provides the first attempt to experimentally examine the relative strength of cultural and genetic preferences for a particular trait and suggests that these two factors moderate one another in shaping social behavior.
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We examine the evolutionary consequences of copying mate choice using models in which the preferences of younger females are affected by the mate choices that they observe older females making. We introduce two models of copying, termed “single mate copying” and “mass copying”, corresponding to situations in which immature females imprint on the choices of only one or of a very large number of older females, respectively. Female mating preferences are assumed to evolve only through cultural evolution, while the male trait on which they act is inherited either via a haploid autosomal or a Y-linked locus. Results show that the preference and male trait can rapidly coevolve, with a positive frequencey-dependent advantage to the more common male trait allele. This process can cause a display trait that lowers male viability to increase in a population. Mass copying results in stronger frequency dependence than does single mate copying. Mass copying and, under some conditions, single mate copying lead to two alterative stable equilibria for the male trait. Neither copying model supports variation at the male trait locus, and copying makes it more difficult for a novel male trait phenotype to spread.
Book
Why have males in many species evolved more conspicuous ornaments and signals such as bright colours, enlarged fins, and feather plumes, as well as larger horns and other weapons than females? Darwin's explanation for such secondary sex traits, the theory of sexual selection, became his scientifically perhaps most controversial idea. It suggests that the traits are favoured by competition over mates. After a long period of relative quiescence, theoretical and empirical research on sexual selection has erupted during the last decades. This book describes the theory and its recent development, reviews models, methods, and empirical tests, and identifies many remaining open problems. Among the topics discussed are the selection and evolution of mating preferences; relations between sexual selection, species recognition, and speciation; constraints on sexual selection; the selection of secondary sex differences in body size, weapons, and in visual, acoustic, and chemical signals. The rapidly growing study of sexual selection in plants is also reviewed. Other chapters deal with alternative mating tactics, and with the relationships among sexual selection, parental roles, and mating systems. The present review of this very active research field will be of interest to students, teachers, and research workers in behavioural and evolutionary ecology, animal behaviour, plant reproductive ecology, and other areas of evolutionary biology where sexual selection is a potential selection factor. In spite of much exciting progress, some of the main questions in the theory of sexual selection yet remain to be answered.
Article
We examine the evolutionary consequences of copying mate choice using models in which the preferences of younger females are affected by the mate choices that they observe older females making. We introduce two models of copying, termed single mate copying and mass copying, corresponding to situations in which immature females imprint on the choices of only one or of a very large number of older females, respectively. Female mating preferences are assumed to evolve only through cultural evolution, while the male trait on which they act is inherited either via a haploid autosomal or a Y-linked locus. Results show that the preference and male trait can rapidly coevolve, with a positive frequencey-dependent advantage to the more common male trait allele. This process can cause a display trait that lowers male viability to increase in a population. Mass copying results in stronger frequency dependence than does single mate copying. Mass copying and, under some conditions, single mate copying lead to two alterative stable equilibria for the male trait. Neither copying model supports variation at the male trait locus, and copying makes it more difficult for a novel male trait phenotype to spread.
Article
Recent field studies of lekking birds and mammals have provided evidence that mate selection in these mating systems may be affected partly by females copying the choices of others. Two pieces of evidence from black grouse, Tetrao tetrix, leks consistent with this view are presented. First, data on the temporal distributions of natural matings at 19 leks show that after being chosen by one female, a male is more likely to be chosen by others. Second, in an experiment in which dummy females were placed on males' territories, more females were attracted to the territories on days when males were able to copulate with the dummies. This result was not repeated in two other treatments when males were presented with dummies with which they were not able to copulate or with decoys of ducks. This suggests that copulation itself makes a male more attractive to females, although several other cues might also have contributed to the responses observed in these experiments.
Article
Aspects of the environment, including the social environment, can contribute to intrapopulation variation in mating preferences. One example of the effect of social environment on mate preferences is mate choice copying; however, other types of socially influenced (nonindependent) choice might exist. We develop a list of such alternatives based on possible physiological or psychological mechanisms, evaluate the evidence distinguishing one from another and clarify some controversial aspects of mate choice copying. This framework reveals many ways in which one female's mate choice can influence that of another, and suggests a broader array of hypotheses about the selective forces acting on such mechanisms. Because nonindependent choice can occur in a variety of ways, it could be more important for understanding patterns of mate choice than current theory suggests.
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There is increasing evidence from both observational and experimental studies that females may copy each other's mating decisions. Female copying can be defined as a type of nonindependent choice in which the probability that a female chooses a given male increases if other females have chosen that male and decreases if they have not. The important characteristic of copying behavior that separates it from other similar processes is that the change in the probability of choice is strictly because of the actions of other females and not the consequences of those actions (e.g., a male's behavior changing as a result of successful matings). A gametheory model suggests that the adaptive significance of female copying may depend primarily on the ratio of the costs to the benefits of active mate choice. Copying behavior, and more generally conspecific cueing, may be important in many behavioral processes beyond mate choice.