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Age preferences in mates reflect sex differences in reproductive strategies

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Abstract

The finding that women are attracted to men older than themselves whereas men are attracted to relatively younger women has been explained by social psychologists in terms of economic exchange rooted in traditional sex-role norms. An alternative evolutionary model suggests that males and females follow different reproductive strategies, and predicts a more complex relationship between gender and age preferences. In particular, males' preference for relatively Younger females should be minimal during early mating years, but should become more pronounced as the male gets older. Young females are expected to prefer somewhat older males during their early years and to change less as they age. We briefly review relevant theory and present results of six studies testing this prediction. Study 1 finds support for this gender-differentiated prediction in age preferences expressed in personal advertisements. Study 2 supports the prediction with marriage statistics from two U.S. cities. Study 3 examines the cross-generational robustness of the phenomenon, and finds the same pattern in marriage statistics from 1923. Study 4 replicates Study 1 using matrimonial advertisements from two European countries, and from India. Study 5 finds a consistent pattern in marriages recorded from 1913 through 1939 on a small island in the Philippines. Study 6 reveals the same pattern in singles advertisements placed by financially successful American women and men. We consider the limitations of previous normative and evolutionary explanations of age preferences and discuss the advantages of expanding previous models to include the life history perspective.

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... Most have been couched in terms of individual value on mating markets, with age-related declines in fecundity (reproductive capacity) associated with diminishing value and hence decreasing market competitiveness and selectivity (e.g. Fales et al., 2016;Kenrick & Keefe, 1992). In research on newspaper personal ads, for instance, both older women and relatively less attractive women tended to be less demanding than their younger and more attractive counterparts (Pawlowski & Dunbar, 1999;Waynforth & Dunbar, 1995). ...
... This is compounded by age variation in sexual partners. In a heterosexual context, men generally prefer younger partners with the preferred age gap increasing with the man's age, while women prefer men about five years older than themselves (Kenrick & Keefe, 1992). Actual sexual partners exhibit similar disparities in age across the lifespan, with men typically being around two to three years older than the women they have sex with, suggesting that age of sexual partners, like the frequency of sexual activity, appears to be driven by female sexual preferences (Antfolk et al., 2015). ...
... Pawlowski & Dunbar, 1999;Conroy-Beam & Buss, 2018), while female mate value declines earlier and rapidly with diminishing fecundity (Maestripieri, Klimczuk, Traficonte, & Wilson, 2014). As males' mate value increases later in life, so too does their preference for a younger female partner (Kenrick & Keefe, 1992) and demands for particular traits in a romantic partner (Waynforth & Dunbar, 1995). Men may therefore only accept a less-preferred older female as a sexual partner if commitment is relaxed, trading off age against expected commitment. ...
Article
How do singles' strategies for engaging in sexual activity with a new partner vary across the adult lifespan? Using three large and independent demographically representative cross-sectional samples of heterosexual single adults in the U.S., we found that females approaching the typical age of menopause became less likely to establish relationship exclusivity prior to sexual activity with a new partner. However, after the typical age of menopausal onset, females returned to earlier levels of commitment choosiness. These changes in commitment choosiness surrounding the age of menopause were consistent across two studies (including a larger dataset combining two samples). Findings suggest that single females approaching menopause—a major life history milestone—alter their behavior to achieve reproductively relevant partnering goals but abandon this mating strategy once the typical reproductive period has ended. Males exhibited similar, though attenuated, changes in expected relationship commitment before sexual activity during midlife as well. Age-related changes in commitment corresponded with the amount of stress expressed regarding one's “biological clock”. However, reduced commitment choosiness did not vary with frequency of sexual thoughts, frequency of sexual behaviors, or external pressures to find a romantic partner. Results are discussed in terms of life history theory and sex differences in sexuality.
... When considering any kind of romantic exchange, the mainstream is homogamy in which the principle "like prefers like" rules, but there is a clear gender difference in how age is evaluated by individuals, being women mostly attracted to older men and men mostly attracted to younger women (Buss, 1989;Kenrick & Keefe, 1992;Kenrick et al., 1996;Bech-Sørensen & Pollet, 2016). Despite the former, researchers on mate selection and first sexual intercourse have paid little attention to age preferences, particularly age heterogamy within first sex relationships. ...
... Finally, age preferences have also been explained using the evolutionary life-history perspective. According to this theoretical framework, among the determinants of mate matching appear not only the sociocultural explanations previously mentioned but also differences in the effort men and women produce in their lifespan for fertility and mate matching, as well as the role played by biological fitness and reproductive value in the search for a partner (Kenrick & Keefe, 1992;Kenrick et al., 1996). In this sense, males will tend to search for female partners in the maximum of their reproductive potential and this might explain males' preference for younger women. ...
... Therefore, our first hypothesis was clearly verified: i.e., women tend to choose an older partner also for their first sexual experience. This outcome is in line with previous studies on age preferences which have always remarked the existence of clear gender differences on mate selection (Buss, 1989;Kenrick & Keefe, 1992;Kenrick et al., 1995;Kenrick et al., 1996;Wiederman, 1993;Buunk et al., 2002;Bech-Sørensen & Pollet, 2016). ...
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Abstract Researchers have devoted much attention both to the analysis of the first sexual experience and to how the couple was established, but little is still known about age differences of partners at their first sexual relationship. The availability of two highly comparable waves of a survey on the sexual behavior of college students in Italy (SELFY—Sexual and Emotional LiFe of Youth) carried out in 2000 and 2017 allowed us to study the predictors of age differences between partners at first sex, filling the existing gap on recent research. Results of multivariate analyses show important gender differences on mate selection: women tend to choose an older partner for having their first sexual experience and are less likely as men to be involved in age discordant first sex relationships with a younger partner. Age gaps between partners also influence age at sexual debut, which tends to occur earlier in a relationship with an older partner and later if having first sex with a younger partner. Another important predictor of the age gap is the type of relationship that linked the respondent to its partner at first sex. Our estimations indicate a lower likelihood of having had an older first sex partner for students who had their first sexual experience with the own boy/girl-friend or with a friend compared to those who have had it with a stranger. Finally, we have found a higher likelihood of first sex relationships among same-age partners relative to older partners through SELFY waves and small changes on variables influencing such relationships.
... Age differences between mothers and fathers can affect male-female differences in fertility when there is variation in cohort sizes (Schoen 1985). Generally, the reproductive age range of men is longer than that of women (Dudel and Klüsener 2016); and fathers are, on average, older than mothers (e.g., Kenrick and Keefe 1992). If mothers and fathers come from different birth cohorts and there is variation in cohort size, the denominators of male and female fertility rates will differ. ...
... Within human populations, fathers are, on average, older than mothers. This pattern seems to hold across time and space (Kenrick and Keefe 1992;Schoumaker 2017Schoumaker , 2019. For instance, in high-income countries, males are, on average, 2 to 4 years older at childbirth than their female partners (Kolk 2015;Dudel and Klüsener 2016). ...
... Proponents of an evolutionary perspective of parental investment (Trivers 1972) have argued that both females and males have to be selective in their partner choices, as among humans, it is usually necessary for both partners to invest heavily in their offspring (Kenrick and Keefe 1992). However, while the investments of females are high in terms of bodily resources (pregnancy and lactation), the investments of males are more indirect (providing resources such as food or security). ...
Article
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Obtaining cross-country comparative perspectives on male fertility has long been difficult, as male fertility is usually less well registered than female fertility. Recent methodological advancements in imputing missing paternal ages at childbirth enable us to provide a new database on male fertility. This new resource covers more than 330 million live births and is based on a consistent and well-tested set of methods. These methods allow us to handle missing information on the paternal age, which is missing for roughly 10% of births. The data resource is made available in the Human Fertility Collection and allows for the first time a comparative perspective on male fertility in high-income countries using high-quality birth register data. We analyze trends in male–female fertility quantum and tempo differentials across 17 high-income countries, dating as back as far as the late 1960s for some countries, and with data available for the majority of countries from the 1980s onward. Using descriptive and counterfactual analysis methods, we find substantial variation both across countries and over time. Related to the quantum we demonstrate that disparities between male and female period fertility rates are driven to a large degree by the interplay of parental age and cohort size differences. For parental age differences at childbirth, we observe a development toward smaller disparities, except in Eastern Europe. This observation fits with expectations based on gender theories. However, variation across countries also seems to be driven by factors other than gender equality.
... Why does the human perceptual system evaluate some targets as being more attractive than others? Although the answer to this question is undoubtedly complex, involving features that are age- [1], sex- [2], culture- [3], and personspecific [4,5], sexual selection theory suggests that perceptions of attractiveness should reflect a preference for traits that have historically been linked to their possessor's quality as a mate, including health and immune function (e.g. [6,7]). ...
... See the electronic supplementary materials for full Data Analytic Plan. 1 Briefly, all models were estimated using Mplus statistical software (Mplus 7.4; [56]). Latent variables of attractiveness (comprised of ratings of attractiveness, desirability, status, and genes) and health (comprised of rating of healthiness, longevity, immune function, and genes) were used as dependent variables in the subsequent models. ...
... 155120). 1 The electronic supplementary material also contains factor analysis results, results of models in which rated attractiveness was used as a single-item dependent variable (results remain unchanged), results of analyses investigating relationships between perceived health and immune function and results of analyses investigating relationships between target's self-reported health and immune function. Results for these analyses are reported while controlling for significant covariates and the latter without testing for sex differences. ...
Article
It has long been hypothesized that attractiveness provides a cue to a target's health and immunocompetence. However, much of the research testing this hypothesis has relied on a small number of indirect proxies of immune function, and the results of this research have been mixed. Here, we build on this past research, examining the relationship between target attractiveness and (i) self-reported health, (ii) in vivo measures of inflammation and white blood cell count/composition, and (iii) in vitro tests of targets' immune function, including (c1) leucocyte proliferation in response to immunological stimulants, (c2) phagocytosis of Escherichia coli bioparticles, (c3) NK cell-mediated lysis of target tumour cells, and (c4) Staphylococcus aureus growth in isolated plasma. Results revealed multiple, sometimes sex-differentiated, relationships between targets' immune function and others’ perceptions of their attractiveness. Together, this work suggests complex, often sex-differentiated relationships between immune function, health, and attractiveness.
... Age differences between mothers and fathers can affect male-female differences in fertility when there is variation in cohort sizes (Schoen 1985). Generally, the reproductive age range of men is longer than that of women (Dudel and Klüsener 2016); and fathers are, on average, older than mothers (e.g., Kenrick and Keefe 1992). If mothers and fathers come from different birth cohorts and there is variation in cohort size, the denominators of male and female fertility rates will differ. ...
... Social status, biological perspectives, and limiting factors Within human populations, fathers are, on average, older than mothers. This pattern seems to hold across time and space (Kenrick and Keefe 1992;Schoumaker 2017Schoumaker , 2019. For instance, in high-income countries, males are, on average, two to four years older at childbirth than their female partners (Kolk 2015, Dudel andKlüsener 2016). ...
... In addition to social mechanisms, biological mechanisms have been discussed as potential explanations for the age gap between fathers and mothers. Proponents of the evolutionary perspective of parental investment (Trivers 1972) have argued that both females and males have to be selective in their partner choices, as among humans, it is usually necessary for both partners to invest heavily in their offspring (Kenrick and Keefe 1992). However, while the investments of females are high in terms of bodily resources (pregnancy and lactation), the investments of males are more indirect (providing resources such as food or security). ...
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Obtaining cross-country comparative perspectives on male fertility has long been difficult, as male fertility is usually less well registered than female fertility. This paper presents analyses based on a new male fertility database providing data on more than 330 million live births. This new resource, made available in the Human Fertility Collection, allows for the first time a comparative perspective on male fertility in high-income countries using high-quality birth register data. Contrasting male and female fertility trends across 17 countries, we show that trends in disparities between male and female period fertility rates are driven to a large degree by the interplay of parental age and cohort size differences. For parental age differences at childbirth, we observe a tendency toward smaller disparities, except in Eastern Europe. This observation fits with expectations based on gender theories. However, variation across countries also seems to be driven by factors other than gender equality.
... However, the empirical basis for this claim is mixed (Schmitt, 2012;Zentner & Mitura, 2012). Evolutionary theory suggests that in the past, males and females faced different environmental challenges (Kenrick & Keefe, 1992). These challenges genetically shaped their personalities and preferences, creating gender differences that exist to this day (Buss & Schmitt, 1993). ...
... Evolutionary theory suggests that in the past, males and females faced different environmental challenges (Kenrick & Keefe, 1992). These challenges genetically shaped their personalities and preferences, creating gender differences that exist to this day (Buss & Schmitt, 1993). ...
... For a male, one of the greatest challenges in selecting a mate was identifying a fertile female prior to establishing a long-term bond with her. This challenge is represented in present-day men's preference -though not necessarily a conscious one -for mates who are fertile, in general, and young, in particular (Kenrick & Keefe, 1992). ...
Article
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Based on evolutionary psychology, this paper investigates whether age preferences for ad models differ according to the model’s gender. The study is the first to experimentally document the double standard of ageing in consumer appraisals of advertisements. Fictitious advertisements were created for mineral water, chewing gum and energy bars, manipulating the ages of the models. Each participant was randomly placed in one of four conditions using a 2 (Model Age) × 2 (Model Gender) between-subjects experimental design and asked to rate the ads. As hypothesized, mature male models elicited a more favourable response than did young ones, whereas mature female models elicited a less favourable response than did young ones. The link between the model’s age and the attitude towards the ad was mediated by the model’s attractiveness. These preliminary results suggest that in choosing ad models, advertisers should take into consideration that mature male models and young female models are rated as attractive, eliciting favourable responses from potential consumers. Nonetheless, mature age can elicit the perception of trustworthiness of the model.
... BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES (2010) 33:2/3 1989; Daly & Wilson 1988;Ekman 1999b;Elfenbein & Ambady 2002;Kenrick & Keefe 1992a;Tracy & Matsumoto 2008). ...
... In all 37 of the populations, males ranked the physical attractiveness of their mates to be more important than did females; and in 34 of the 37 populations, females ranked the ambition and industriousness of their mates as more important than did males (but for other interpretations, see Eagly & Wood 1999). 9 Likewise, Kenrick and Keefe (1992a;1992b) provide evidence of robust differences in age preferences of mates across populations. Finally, comparative research examining men's preferred waist-to-hip ratios in potential mates finds that men in both industrialized and developing large-scale populations prefer a waist-to-hip ratio of around 0.7 (Singh 2006;Singh & Luis 1994;Streeter & McBurney 2003;). ...
... More than other researchers in the social sciences, evolutionary researchers have led the way in performing systematic comparative work, drawing data from diverse societies. This is not because they are interested in variation per se (though some are), but because they are compelled, through some combination of their scientific drive and the enthusiasm of their critics, to test their hypotheses in diverse populations (e.g., Billing & Sherman 1998;Buss 1989;Daly & Wilson 1988;Fessler et al. 2005;Gangestad et al. 2006;Henrich et al. 2005;Kenrick & Keefe 1992a;1992b;Low 2000;Medin & Atran 2004;Schmitt 2005;Sugiyama et al. 2002;Tracy & Robins 2008). ...
... It has been repeatedly shown that women exhibit a stronger preference than men do for attributes of ambition, social status, and financial wealth of their partner, which is indicative of the partner's ability to acquire and invest the resources necessary for the survival of the offspring, while men exhibit a stronger preference than women do for indicators of youthfulness and physical attractiveness, which are indicative of high reproductive potential, as well as for indicators of sexual fidelity (e.g. Buss 2008;Buss & Schmitt 1993;Feingold 1992;Kenrick & Keefe 1992;Kenrick et al. 1990;Wiederman & Allgeier 1992). Both men and women rate some attributes, such as mutual attraction/love and health, as very important. ...
... As mentioned before, gender differences are not the central issue in this paper, as they are discussed in more detail elsewhere (e.g. Buss & Schmitt 1993;Buss 2008;Feingold 1992;Gangestad & Simpson 2000;Kenrick & Keefe 1992;Kenrick et al. 1990;Wiederman & Allgeier 1992), but they do show a typical pattern predicted by evolutionary psychology theorists (see Figure 1): women assessed good financial prospects and social status as more important than men did, while men assessed good looks and chastity as more important than women did. As expected, health is valued equally by both genders. ...
Article
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Although studies consistently show gender differences in emotional vs. sexual jealousy, a substantial part of variance in jealousy is left unexplained. Here, we present two studies with aim to explore other correlates of jealousy, aside from gender. In the first online study ( n = 2970), we found that participants who reported being more upset by the emotional infidelity scenario were older and more educated and had a higher income than those who reported being more upset by the sexual infidelity scenario. Those who expressed greater sexual jealousy gave higher ratings of importance of potential partner's mate value. Heterosexual women were more likely to report emotional jealousy than non-heterosexual women. Among men, sexual orientation did not predict type of jealousy. As the role of reproductive status was largely neglected in previous research, in the second study, we used a continuous measure to explore jealousy as a function of age (reproductive vs. post-reproductive; n = 199). We found that the older participants were less jealous overall, and that the previously reported gender differences disappeared in the post-reproductive group. These results provide further support for the notion that jealousy is a context-specific, adaptive response, which diminishes in both intensity and specificity as the threat that it was designed for wanes.
... Several researchers have studied mate choice in different cultures and age groups (e.g., Buss, 1988;Kenrick & Keefe, 1992;Lippa, 2007). Over 30 years ago, Buss (1988) researched mate preferences for various characteristics in 37 cultures and found similar preferences for men and women, with some slight differences between cultures. ...
... Women's morphology provides honest cues of genetic quality (via attractiveness; White & Puts, 2019) and current physiology (e.g., hormone levels, fertility, and developmental history), which are partly reliant on age (Mafra, 2019a;Trivers, 1972). For women, age is a factor that limits their value on the mating market due to the relatively short period during which women may reproduce compared with men (Kenrick & Keefe, 1992;Pawlowski, 2000). ...
Article
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The body of research on mating is substantial, but some theoretical gaps and mismatched findings remain to be resolved. One of the most pervasive issues is the interaction between mate preference and mate choice, particularly in relation to culture. Here we investigate if mate preferences lead to actual mate choice, which is an understudied area in evolutionary psychology. We explore differences and similarities in both preference and choice between men and women of different socioeconomic status levels. To do so, we conducted a comparative study with participants of a non–Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) country currently in development and a developed WEIRD country. Our findings provide evidence of cultural differences and an interaction of mate choice and preference, in which the most adopted strategy is to balance mate preferences for ideal long-term partners with potential mates who are currently available in the mating market.
... Yet, perhaps because such links between friendship and fitness are less obvious, direct, and overt than are links between mating and fitness, many relationship phenomena have been comparatively less well studied in friendships than in mating-both within and beyond the evolutionary social sciences (e.g., in social and personality psychology; see Harris & Vazire, 2016). For example, there is a wealth of evolutionary-minded work on mate preferences (e.g., Buss, 1989;Buss & Schmitt, 2019;Gangestad, Haselton, & Buss, 2006;Kenrick & Keefe, 1992;Shackelford, Schmitt, & Buss, 2005), tools of mate retention (e.g., relationship satisfaction, sexual jealousy, mate guarding; Buss, 2000Buss, , 2013Buunk, 1981Buunk, , 1982Buunk, , 1991Olderbak & Figueredo, 2009;Scelza et al., 2019), and, more recently, empirical explorations of how the mind integrates our evolved mate preferences to make actual mate choices (Conroy-Beam, 2018;Conroy-Beam & Buss, 2016a, 2016bConroy-Beam et al., 2019). There is comparatively less evolutionary-minded work on friend preferences (e.g., Bleske-Rechek & Buss, 2001;Eisenbruch, Grillot, & Roney, 2019;Eisenbruch & Roney, 2020;Lewis, Al-Shawaf, Conroy-Beam, Asao, & Buss, 2012;Lewis et al., 2011;Massen & Koski, 2014;Pham, Barbaro, Mogilski, & Shackelford, 2015;Shaw, DeScioli, Barakzai, & Kurzban, 2017) or tools of friend retention (e.g., Burkett, 2009;Krems, 2018;Krems, Williams, Kenrick, & Aktipis, under review;Schutzwohl, Joshi, & Abdur-Razak, n.d.;Yamaguchi, Smith, & Ohtsubo, 2015). ...
Article
Close friendships are associated with greater happiness and improved health; historically, they would likely have provided beneficial fitness outcomes. Yet each friendship requires one's finite time and resources to develop and maintain. Because people can maintain only so many close relationships, including friendships, at any one time, choosing which prospective friends to pursue and invest in is likely to have been a recurrent adaptive problem. Moreover, not all friends are created equal; some might be kind but unintelligent, some intelligent but disloyal, and so on. How might people integrate their friend preferences to make friend choices? Work using a Euclidean model of mate preferences has had significant success in elucidating this integration challenge in the domain of mating. Here, we apply this model to the domain of friendship, specifically exploring same-sex best and close friendships. We test and find some support for several critical predictions derived from a Euclidean integration hypothesis: People with higher Euclidean friend value (a) have best friends who better fulfill their best friend preferences, (b) have higher friend-value ideal best friends, and (c) have higher friend-value actual best friends. We also (d) replicate existing similar findings with regard to mating and (e) additionally provide a first test of whether people's Euclidean friend value (versus mate value) is a better predictor of their friend outcomes, and vice versa, finding some, albeit mixed, support for the dissocialbility of these constructs.
... Youth, reproductive value, and fertility status. Men consistently rate younger women as more attractive than older women (Buss, 1989;Kenrick & Keefe, 1992). Female youth is linked to greater reproductive value, meaning that reproductively viable adolescent girls and young women have a higher probability of conceiving and producing a healthy child than older women (Shackelford & Larsen, 1999). ...
Chapter
From an evolutionary perspective, aggression is viewed as a flexible context-specific adaption that was selected for because it enhanced the survival and reproductive success of ancestral humans. Evolutionary pressures have impinged differentially on the sexes, leading to the hypothesis that sex differences should be manifest in aggressive behavior. Evidence to date supports key predictions made from sexual selection theory that women direct their aggression primarily toward same-sex competitors, which peaks as mate competition intensifies. Women demonstrate a notable preference across cultures for more indirect, as opposed to direct, forms of intrasexual rivalry as a likely consequence of heightened obligatory parental investment, lower lifetime reproductive potential, and the greater importance of maternal survival for the health and longevity of offspring. An evolutionary approach can yield unique insights into the sex-differentiated functions, development, and outcomes of aggressive behavior.
... According to socio-cultural theories, our culture values female attractiveness more than male attractiveness (Kenrick & Keefe, 1992) because females are fertile for fewer years than males. Therefore, more attention is focused on the external appearance of women, leading to greater consensus (Eagly & Wood, 1999;Jackson, 1992). ...
Article
In this study, we examine if there are peer effects on the influence of external appearance on employability. We presented participants with a series of male and female photos and asked them to rate the attractiveness, employability, and other characteristics of the people portrayed. Candidates who were rated as more attractive were also deemed more likely to be invited for an interview. However, male candidates were judged relatively such that a candidate's chance of being interviewed decreased when his image was presented with that of other handsome men. This relative effect was not found to be significant for women.
... If the principles that influence behavior in these extraordinary situations are consistent with those involved in well-understood situations, we can have greater confidence that we are dealing with basic evolved mechanisms. Considerable success has been realized in understanding basic human mating strategies (Kenrick & Keefe, 1992;Thornhill, 1991), different patterns of sexual jealousy shown by men and women (Wilson & Daly, 1992), patterns of homicide (Daly & Wilson 1988, sex differences in the characteristics preferred for mates (Buss, 1994), and sex-specific aesthetic preferences of males and females that are related to reproductive value (Thornhill, 1998). ...
... Such traits indicate to males the survival likelihood of the female and offspring she may produce, regardless of the degree of male paternal investment (Trivers, 1972). Accordingly, men compared to women more frequently seek short-term relationships and prefer younger partners (Barber, 1995;Buss, 1989;Kenrick & Keefe, 1992;Li & Kenrick, 2006;Symons, 1979;Walter et al., 2020). During recent decades, researchers have investigated the effects of cues of human female fertility and fecundity on perception in the light of sexual selection theory. ...
Chapter
As proposed by Trivers in 1972, Parental Investment Theory addresses sex differences that result from the trade-off between parenting and mating efforts. This half-century-old theory has contributed profoundly to our understanding of sexual behavior and psychology. According to Parental Investment Theory, the sex that has higher parental investment will be more selective when choosing a mate, while the sex with lower investment will compete intrasexually for mating opportunities (Trivers, 1972). Parental investment is defined as “any investment by the parent in an individual offspring that increases the offspring’s chance of surviving (and hence reproductive success) at the cost of the parent’s ability to invest in other offspring” (Trivers, 1972, p. 139), such as investment in the forms of gestation, lactation, food provisioning, protection, and the training of offspring. In many species, including humans, females invest substantially more in parenting compared to males. This chapter considers the sexual behaviors that have evolved as a function of differences in parental investment, with a specific focus on Homo sapiens.
... For example, there is evidence that women who indicate stronger preferences for masculinity are, indeed, in relationships with more masculine-looking men and that men of higher occupational status not only hold a preference for but also marry more physically attractive women. In addition, partner preferences concerning age seem to match the actual age of individuals' marital and sexual partners (Antfolk et al. 2015;Kenrick and Keefe 1992). ...
... The second purpose of using independent attractiveness ratings was to diversify the pool of our raters, not limiting it only to young university students. Young women prefer young men as their partners (Buunk et al., 2001;Kenrick & Keefe, 1992), and young appearance is positively correlated with facial femininity (and negatively with facial masculinity). One of the main hypotheses is that women prefer men with feminine personality traits and faces. ...
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Women prefer male faces with feminine shape and masculine reflectance. Here, we investigate the conceptual correlates of this preference, showing that it might reflect women’s preferences for feminine (vs. masculine) personality in a partner. Young heterosexual women reported their preferences for personality traits in a partner, and rated male faces – manipulated on masculinity/femininity – on stereotypically masculine (e.g., dominance) and feminine traits (e.g., warmth). Masculine shape and reflectance increased perceptions of masculine traits, but had different effects on perceptions of feminine traits and attractiveness. While masculine shape decreased perceptions of both attractiveness and feminine traits, masculine reflectance increased perceptions of attractiveness and to a weaker extent of feminine traits. These findings are consistent with the idea that sex-dimorphic characteristics elicit personality trait judgments, which might in turn affect attractiveness. Importantly, participants found faces attractive to the extent that these faces elicited their preferred personality traits, regardless of gender-typicality of the traits. In sum, women’s preferences for male faces are associated with their preferences for personality traits.
... Such comparisons might interact with the sex of the actors and the sex of the participants. Because men have a sexual preference for younger women closer to peak fecundity (early to mid-20 s, e.g., Kenrick & Keefe, 1992) and are typically mated to women slightly younger than they are (Buss, 1989), it might be expected that men would be more understanding of male infidelity in which the mistress is younger than the wife (i.e., having higher reproductive value). ...
Article
We investigated sex differences in cognitive and moral appraisals of sexual infidelity using the case of General David Petraeus as an example. Because visual stimulation may impact psychological evaluations of other people's behavior, including infidelity, participants were randomly assigned to view either a photograph (n = 127) of General Petraeus with his wife plus a photograph of him with his mistress, or a photograph (n = 195) of General Petraeus alone. Both conditions included an identical brief description of the scandal following his affair with his biographer. Participants provided their moral appraisal and cognitive appraisal of infidelity after viewing the visual stimuli. As predicted, men more than women reported lower scores of moral appraisal (“condemnation”) and higher scores of cognitive appraisal (“understanding”) across both conditions. Men who viewed photographs of General Petraeus with his wife and with his mistress reported higher cognitive appraisal than did men who viewed a photograph depicting General Petraeus alone. These results suggest sex differences in appraisals of infidelity, which are particularly salient when participants are presented with visual stimuli contrasting the wife and the more attractive mistress of the unfaithful man.
... Finally, the finding that women have a preference for a potential partner whom they perceive to be older whereas men do not exhibit age preferences is in line with the findings of Kenrick and Keefe (1992). Indeed, they report that while in early mating years -which most of our participants are at, see Table 1 for descriptive statistics on participants' age -men do not yet exhibit preferences for a younger potential partner, women have a preference for an older potential partner already in their early mating years. ...
Article
Previous literature has identified assortative mating as the most frequent deviation from random mating both in offline dating and on classic online dating websites. However, several recent studies have suggested that as-sortative mating is fading due to the advent of mobile dating apps. Therefore, in this study we examine whether preferences for assortative mating are still present on the most popular mobile dating app of the moment, Tinder. For this means, we analyze experimental and survey data on 7846 Tinder profile evaluations. We unambiguously find that Tinder users prefer a potential partner whom they perceive to be similar in the personality traits agreeableness and openness to experience. With respect to similarity in perceived age, we find either no assortment or positive assortment, depending on whether we condition on other participant characteristics. Finally, we do not find any evidence for preferences for assortative mating based on attractiveness. We examine heterogeneous preferences by the gender and age of the experiment participants.
... These short-term mating adaptations are now operating in an environment with unprecedented anonymity and potential options. Male university students in particular are surrounded by many women displaying cues to youth and fertility, key determinants of judgments of female attractiveness (Kenrick and Keefe, 1992;Li et al., 2002). The combination of these cuesanonymity, many fertile options-may act as a supernormal stimulus, triggering men to pursue short-term mating strategies more strongly than they would have ancestrally. ...
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Evolutionary mismatch concepts are being fruitfully employed in a number of research domains, including medicine, health, and human cognition and behavior to generate novel hypotheses and better understand existing findings. We contend that research on human mating will benefit from explicitly addressing both the evolutionary mismatch of the people we study and the evolutionary mismatch of people conducting the research. We identified nine mismatch characteristics important to the study of human mating and reviewed the literature related to each of these characteristics. Many of the people we study are: exposed to social media, in temporary relationships, relocatable, autonomous in their mating decisions, nulliparous, in groups that are socially segmented, in an educational setting, confronted with lots of options, and young. We applied mismatch concepts to each characteristic to illustrate the importance of incorporating mismatch into this research area. Our aim in this paper is not to identify all potential mismatch effects in mating research, nor to challenge or disqualify existing data. Rather, we demonstrate principled ways of thinking about evolutionary mismatch in order to propel progress in mating research. We show how attending to the potential effects of mismatch can help us refine our theoretical and methodological approaches and deepen our understanding of existing patterns in the empirical record. We conclude with specific recommendations about how to include consideration of evolutionary mismatch into research on human mating.
... Ihr Anspruchsniveau ist bis zum Alter 30 hoch und fällt ab Alter 30. Damit implementieren diese Verhaltensregeln Befunde aus Studien, die gezeigt haben, dass die Anspruchshaltung der Frauen an einen Partner mit sinkender Fekundität fällt (siehe z.B.Waynforth und Dunbar 1995;de Sousa Campos et al. 2002), während Männer in jungen Jahren eher an kurzfristigen Beziehungen und Affären interessiert sind und erst später an langfristigen Beziehungen mit der Absicht der Familiengründung(Buss 2016;Kenrick und Keefe 1992). Die Definition von Anspruchsniveaus verringert die Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass sich während der Simulation nur optimale Partnerschaften bilden und Suchende, die keinen Partner finden, übrig bleiben oder eine Partnerschaft mit einem ungeeigneten Partner eingehen müssen (z.B. ein junger Mann mit einer sehr alten Frau). ...
Chapter
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Dieses Kapitel beschreibt eine neuartige Methode zur Konstruktion von dynamischen (Mikro-)Simulationsmodellen, die nicht nur auf rein statistischen Modellen wie z. B. Regressionen beruhen, sondern diese um ein Modell erweitern, das auch die Abbildung von Verhaltens- und Entscheidungsprozessen oder generell von unbeobachteten Prozessen erlaubt. Zu diesem Zweck ist es notwendig, dass für die anvisierte Fragestellung geeignete soziologische und/oder psychologische Theorien identifiziert und formalisiert werden. Die formalisierte Theorie muss dann in Form eines theoriegeleiteten Modells so aufbereitet werden, dass sie sich in ein Mikrosimulationsmodell einbinden lässt. Um die Güte des so konstruierten Simulationsmodelles zu bemessen sind Sensitivitätsanalysen und Validierungsmaßnahmen vonnöten. Zu diesem Zweck empfiehlt sich u. a. die Nutzung eines statistischen Metamodells (z. B. eines statistischen Emulators), das das Simulationsmodell unter Beibehaltung der zugrundeliegenden Korrelationsstruktur der Modellvariablen und -parameter vereinfacht darstellt. In diesem Kapitel werden zwei Beispiele für die Umsetzung der Methode gegeben: ein Heiratsmarktmodell für die Verknüpfung von Individuen zu Paaren und ein Migrationsmodell, um die Rolle sozialer Netzwerke und nicht beobachtbarer Entscheidungsprozesse zu erfassen. Generell eignet sich die neue Methode hervorragend für szenariobasierte Vorhersagen, da durch die Verbindung von empirischen und theoretischen Größen es einerseits möglich wird, beobachtete Trends fortzuschreiben, und andererseits Kontextveränderungen zu modellieren.
... In the present article, we do not wish to make strong claims regarding the potential sociobiological implications of these findings. However, we direct interested readers to other research that is broadly in line with the present results, and that argues more specifically that voices may signal mate quality and reproductive potential in humans (e.g., Apicella, Feinberg, & Marlowe, 2007;Feinberg, 2008;Hughes, Dispenza, & Gallup, 2004), that perceived age plays an important role for mate selection (Kenrick & Keefe, 1992), and that perceived vocal age and attractiveness are intertwined (Collins, 2000;Collins & Missing, 2003;Feinberg, Jones, Little, Burt, & Perrett, 2005). ...
Article
Here we describe the Jena Speaker Set (JESS), a free database for unfamiliar adult voice stimuli, comprising voices from 61 young (18–25 years) and 59 old (60–81 years) female and male speakers uttering various sentences, syllables, read text, semi-spontaneous speech, and vowels. Listeners rated two voice samples (short sentences) per speaker for attractiveness, likeability, two measures of distinctiveness (“deviation”-based [DEV] and “voice in the crowd”-based [VITC]), regional accent, and age. Interrater reliability was high, with Cronbach’s α between .82 and .99. Young voices were generally rated as more attractive than old voices, but particularly so when male listeners judged female voices. Moreover, young female voices were rated as more likeable than both young male and old female voices. Young voices were judged to be less distinctive than old voices according to the DEV measure, with no differences in the VITC measure. In age ratings, listeners almost perfectly discriminated young from old voices; additionally, young female voices were perceived as being younger than young male voices. Correlations between the rating dimensions above demonstrated (among other things) that DEV-based distinctiveness was strongly negatively correlated with rated attractiveness and likeability. By contrast, VITC-based distinctiveness was uncorrelated with rated attractiveness and likeability in young voices, although a moderate negative correlation was observed for old voices. Overall, the present results demonstrate systematic effects of vocal age and gender on impressions based on the voice and inform as to the selection of suitable voice stimuli for further research into voice perception, learning, and memory.
... In addition, due to the relation of women's physiology and fertility, another important trait is age (Kenrick and Keefe 1992). Women have a short period during which they can reproduce when comparing to men. ...
... In fact, because sexual access is a two-sided market confirmation of value, women with higher value may see granting sexual access (having more sex) as a positive confirmation of this value, not a reduction in it. Also, contrary to SET and earlier evolutionary psychology research on age and mate value (Buss 1989;Kenrick and Keefe 1992;Buss and Schmitt 1993) is the positive correlation between women's market value and age, which rather than supporting an agingrelated decrease in value may suggest that as time passes women accrue more viable information about their actual market worth. Other alternatives may also include ageing women's increased accrual of both physical and human capital, and the increased prestige and power that comes with that. ...
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In this study, we apply economic principles to the heterosexual human mating market using data on the socio-demographics, biology, attractiveness, sexual behaviour, and reproductive history of 3,261 Australian online dating participants. More specifically, by using survey participants attractiveness ratings as a proxy for market value, we are able to quantitatively explore theories of sexual economics (SET), which conceptualizes sexual access as an economic resource supplied by women in the human mating market. Our study tests this theory further by incorporating heterosexual market substitutes (namely, 953 bisexual and pansexual individuals) to more accurately integrate the relevant supply and demand forces impacting market value and the commodity of sexual access. We find not only that bisexual and pansexual women (but not men) enjoy a market premium (7.3% higher; p < 0.001) relative to their heterosexual counterparts, but that, contrary to SET, women’s market value in our sample does not diminish with age. We further find that in line with theory and evidence from evolutionary studies, men with (proxied) resources realize a higher market value (6.1% higher for every increased level of educational attainment; p < 0.001) than those without. In conclusion, SET is just one possible model that seeks to understand the complex multi-dimensionality of modern human sexuality and reproduction through an economics lens. As the internet and online dating now provide a low-cost conduit for human mating market participants, so to can it facilitate further large sample scientific studies of mating market dynamics such as this.
... Illustrating this point, Conroy-Beam and Buss's (2019) recent and exhaustive review of age preferences in human mating pulls together an impressive compendium of findings demonstrating that women on average prefer older men, but does not raise the possibility that female fitness may nevertheless be better served by smaller age gaps than are optimal for men. Yet, even preference data alone points to potential for sexual conflict over partner age; it has long been recognized that while women generally state ideals for only modestly older men, men more typically desire considerably younger women, especially as they reach older ages themselves (Kenrick & Keefe, 1992). Such distinct preferences are logically incompatible and suggest sexual conflict is unavoidable. ...
Article
The marriage of older men to younger women is common across cultures. On one hand, husband-older marriage may serve the interests of both sexes, a conclusion broadly consistent with reported gender differences in mate preferences. On the other hand, men alone may benefit from such marriages at a cost to women if seniority enables men to exert dominance in conflicts of interest. Indeed, in public health large spousal age gaps are generally deemed “pathological”, both a cause and consequence of gender inequalities harmful to women. We investigate these alternative models of spousal age gap using data from a cross-sectional survey of women in Mwanza, northwestern Tanzania (n = 993). Consistent with the notion that spousal age gaps are a product of sexual conflict, women typically married with a larger age gap than stated ideals. However, adjusting for potential confounds, spousal age gap was not associated with fertility or the risk of divorce. Furthermore, women's mental health and autonomy in household decision-making was higher in husband-older marriages compared to rare cases of same-age or wife-older marriage. Beyond this comparison, the magnitude of spousal age gaps was unrelated to either measure of women's wellbeing among the overwhelming majority of marriages where the husband was older. Together these findings suggest husband-older marriage does not influence marital stability, relatively large spousal age gaps are neither especially costly nor beneficial to women, and that alternative sociodemographic factors are more important in driving variation in women's wellbeing and reproductive success in this context. Our results support neither a model of mutual benefits, nor a “pathological” conceptualization of spousal age gaps. We conclude by both encouraging evolutionary human scientists to engage more fully with models of sexual conflict in future studies of marriage and mating, and suggesting that public health scholars consider more neutral interpretations of spousal age differences.
... The OSR has a strong influence on men's relative focus on mating or parenting (Guttentag & Secord, 1983;Pollet & Nettle, 2008). In modern societies, expanding populations, for instance, result in an "oversupply" of women, because women prefer slightly older marriage partners and men slightly younger ones (Kenrick & Keefe, 1992). With an expanding population, the younger generation of women will be competing for marriage partners from a smaller cohort of older men. ...
Chapter
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... Thus, men have evolved to be particularly sensitive to cues of youth in women, because younger women have relatively higher re productive value (i.e., they have a higher probability of conceiving and producing a healthy child; Shackelford and Larsen, 1999). Indeed, researchers have consistently shown that younger women have higher mate value and are rated as more desirable than older women (Buss, 1989;Kenrick and Keefe, 1992). Consequently, competition for male partners is more intense during the earlier reproductive years of a woman's life, meaning that younger women are most likely to gossip and compete with each other for mates in comparison to their older counterparts (Campbell, 2004;Vaillancourt, 2005Vaillancourt, , 2013. ...
Chapter
In the evolutionary sciences, gossip is argued to constitute an adaptation that enabled human beings to disseminate information about and to keep track of others within a vast and expansive social network. Although gossip can effectively encourage in-group cooper­ation, it can also be used as a low-cost and covert aggressive tactic to compete with oth­ers for valued resources. In line with evolutionary logic, the totality of evidence to date demonstrates that women prefer to aggress indirectly against their rivals via tactics such as gossip and social exclusion, in comparison to men who use proportionally more direct forms of aggression (e.g., physical aggression). As such, it has been argued that hetero­sexual women may use gossip as their primary weapon of choice to derogate same-sex ri­vals in order to damage their reputation and render them less desirable as mates to the opposite sex. This involves attacking the physical attractiveness and sexual reputation of other women, which correspond to men's evolved mating preferences. Androcentric theo­rizing in the evolutionary sciences has stifled a well-rounded understanding of how women use gossip to compete, with whom, and in what situations.
... 1 Men and women who are at a similar stage in their life course will have similar needs and orientations and therefore will evaluate their joint interactions more highly. Since young women enter adolescence and adulthood earlier than young men (e.g., Corijn & Klijzing, 2001), they have been found to prefer male partners who are, on average, some years older, and vice versa (Buunk et al., 2001;Kenrick & Keefe, 1992; for Germany, see Klein & Rapp, 2014). In the later life course, however, these differences will be less pronounced. ...
Article
This study aims to determine to what extent the opportunities and restrictions of the partner market influence educational assortative mating. It also analyzes the interplay between the opportunity structure and preferences. Matching district-based partner market indicators to heterosexual couples when they move in together based on the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), we find strong effects of the opportunity structure on educational homogamy. The results further imply that the density of the supply of potential partners is more important for educational assortative mating than imbalanced supply and competition. While the impact of partner market imbalances on assortative mating is a mere effect of the opportunity structure, the effects of the partner market density of relevant and available partners in space weakly imply that homophile and maximization preferences are simultaneously at work.
... We hypothesized that for women, however, the tendency for hypergamy predicts that higher social status women may face more difficulty finding satisfactory partners, increasing the marriage age (H5). Evolutionary psychology also predicts that compared with women, men tend to prefer younger mates who are more fecund (Kenrick and Keefe 1992). However, men's reproductive function is less influenced by ageing than women, and wealth tends to accumulate with age. ...
Article
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Evolutionary psychological theories posit that higher social status is conducive to men’s reproductive success. Extant research from historical records, small scale societies, as well as industrialized societies, support this hypothesis. However, the relationship between status difference between spouses and reproductive success has been investigated less. Moreover, even fewer studies have directly compared the effect of status and status difference between spouses on reproductive success in men and women. Using data from the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) conducted between 2010 and 2017 ( N = 55,875; 28,931 women) and operationalizing social status as standardized income and educational level (compared with same-sex peers), we examined how social status and relative status between spouses impact men’s and women’s mating and reproductive success. We found that (1) men with higher social status were more likely to have long-term mating (being in a marriage and/or not going through marriage disruption) and reproductive success, mainly through having a lower risk of childlessness; (2) women with higher social status were less likely to have mating and reproductive success; and (3) relative status between spouses had an impact on the couple’s reproductive success so that couples, where the husband had higher status compared to the wife, had higher reproductive success. Thus, social status positively impacted men’s reproductive success, but relative status between spouses also affected mating and impacted childbearing decisions. Significance statement In terms of standardized educational level and income among peers, social status positively predicts men’s mating and reproductive success in contemporary China. However, while a higher social status increases the probability of having at least one child, it does not predict a greater number of children for men. A status difference between spouses, on the other hand, consistently predicts having children. Thus, the higher the husband’s status relative to his wife, the greater the likelihood of having the first, second, and third children. The current results suggest that when examining the effect of status on mating and reproduction, social status and status within a family should be considered. We also stress the importance of exploring the potential proximate mechanisms by which a status difference influences childbearing decisions.
... In France, the age gap between spouses is mainly studied by sociologists, whereas, in other countries, it is a common topic also in other disciplines such as sociobiology and evolutionary psychology. There is a substantial Anglophone literature on the biological determinants of this phenomenon (Buss and Barnes 1986;Howard et al. 1987;Buss 1989;Kenrick and Keefe 1992;Greenlees and McGrew 1994;Buunk et al. 2001). Among the most well-known authors is David M. Buss who published a series of articles in the 1980s and 1990s on the evolutionary foundations of human mate choice (Buss 1989(Buss , 1995Buss and Barnes 1986;Buss and Schmitt 1993). ...
Article
In the majority of heterosexual couples the man is older than the woman. This observation is surprisingly consistent over time and continents. In almost all known societies, the husband is on average older than the wife. Yet although this fact is well established, the mechanisms at work are much less so. How does this sexual asymmetry come to be? Surveys are ill-fitted to answer this question; because they focus on individuals who are already in a couple, they do not adequately capture the dating process. This article relies on an alternative approach that mobilizes data from an online dating site. These services—which are now widely used in France—give an original perspective on women’s and men’s partner preferences and on matching mechanisms. In doing so, they provide new results. Where survey data suggest that the age difference is above all sought by women, the analysis of the website data shows that it is also desired by men, particularly when forming a new union after a separation. More generally, the study questions the notion of “partner choice”—widely used in the sociological literature—and shows that dating is based on a compromise between female and male preferences that diverge rather than coincide. Through the example of age difference within couples, the article seeks to empirically demonstrate some of the opportunities “big data” can provide.
... Research on gender differences has consistently indicated that whereas men highly prize readily observable characteristics, such as physical beauty in a female partner (Buss, 1989;Buss & Barnes, 1986;Singh, 1993;Singh & Young, 1995;Symons, 1992;Townsend & Wasserman, 1998;Walster et al., 1966;Weeden & Sabini, 2005), women are far more concerned with a man's socioeconomic status (SES), parental ability and capacity for the acquisition of resources among other things (Barber, 1995;Buss, 1989;Kenrick & Keefe, 1992;Shackelford et al., 2005;Singh, 1995;Wood & Eagly, 2002). Such qualities are strongly related to a man's ability to provide nourishment and protection to his mate and their offspring. ...
Article
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One of the most important decisions an individual can make involves investing in a mating relationship. For women, the process of mate selection can be time-intensive and fraught with costs and dangers. However, these risks can be minimised by attending to relevant social information and modelling the mate choices of others. The propensity of imitating another’s mate choices is referred to as mate copying. Most research has focused on this behaviour in non-humans, but evidence of its existence in humans is emerging. The current study sought to determine conditions that modify a man’s desirability. The present study examined 267 women’s evaluations of men depicted in silhouetted images who varied in terms of their intentions for fatherhood and relationship history. Results showed that a man’s desirability as a long term mate was enhanced if he wished to become a father, and/or if he had a previous relationship experience, indicating he had been formerly chosen or preferred. These findings add to the existing body of knowledge on mate copying and attention to social information by demonstrating how women incorporate social learning and innate evolutionary predispositions to facilitate decision-making and behaviour relating to mate selection.
... We hypothesized that for women, however, the tendency for hypergamy predicts that higher social status women may face more di culty nding satisfactory partners, increasing the marriage age (H5). Evolutionary psychology also predicts that compared with women, men tend to prefer younger mates who are more fecund (Kenrick and Keefe 1992). However, men's reproductive function is less in uenced by ageing than women, and wealth tends to accumulate with age. ...
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Evolutionary psychological theories posit that higher social status is conducive to men's reproductive success. Extant research from historical records, small scale societies, as well as industrialized societies, support this hypothesis. However, the relationship between status difference between spouses and reproductive outcomes has been investigated less. Moreover, even fewer studies have directly compared the effect of status and status difference between spouses on reproductive outcomes in men and women. Using data from the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) conducted between 2010 and 2017 (N = 55,875; 28,931 women) and operationalizing social status as standardized income and educational level (compared with same-sex peers), we examined how social status and relative status between spouses impact men's and women's mating and reproductive outcomes. We found that (1) men with higher social status were more likely to have long-term mating (being in a marriage and/or not going through marriage disruption) and reproductive success, mainly through having a lower risk of childlessness; (2) women with higher social status were less likely to have mating and reproductive success; and (3) relative status between spouses had an impact on the couple's reproductive success so that couples, where the husband had higher status compared to the wife, had higher reproductive success. Thus, social status positively impacted men's reproductive success, but relative status between spouses also affected mating and impacted childbearing decisions.
... Last, many mating-related traits in humans are sexually dimorphic, such as male biases for traits useful in physical competition (Puts, 2010;Sell et al., 2008) and female biases for traits useful in discerning investment potential (Buss, 1989;Conroy-Beam, Buss, Pham, & Shackelford, 2015;Kenrick & Keefe, 1992). If music evolved to signal mate quality, then adaptations for music production should be more developed in men and adaptations for music perception should be more developed in women. ...
Article
Savage et al. argue for musicality as having evolved for the overarching purpose of social bonding. By way of contrast, we highlight contemporary predictive processing models of human cognitive functioning in which the production and enjoyment of music follows directly from the principle of prediction error minimization.
... Last, many mating-related traits in humans are sexually dimorphic, such as male biases for traits useful in physical competition (Puts, 2010;Sell et al., 2008) and female biases for traits useful in discerning investment potential (Buss, 1989;Conroy-Beam, Buss, Pham, & Shackelford, 2015;Kenrick & Keefe, 1992). If music evolved to signal mate quality, then adaptations for music production should be more developed in men and adaptations for music perception should be more developed in women. ...
Article
We propose that not social bonding, but rather a different mechanism underlies the development of musicality: being unable to survive alone. The evolutionary constraint of being dependent on other humans for survival provides the ultimate driving force for acquiring human faculties such as sociality and musicality, through mechanisms of learning and neural plasticity. This evolutionary mechanism maximizes adaptation to a dynamic environment.
... other hand would tend to marry younger and beautiful women. Indeed, a number of studies lend support to these such as the study of Kenrick and Keefe (1992) which examined personal advertisements, matrimonial advertisements and marriage statistics.However, for the couples where the female is older, it would seemthat evolved preferences for choosing a suitable mate were disregarded or ignored.However, it might be possible that the evolved preferences still underlie their choices, except for the factor of age. If the evolved preferences conferred benefits by making humans reproduce successfully, perhaps, age can be ignored as long as the probability of reproducing successfully remains high. ...
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The present study explored the phenomenon of women choosing younger men—seemingly a violation of evolved mate preferences of males preferring young mates and females preferring resource-laden mates who are usually older. The study explored this issue through two perspectives: evolved preferences and social learning. Study 1 investigated the possibility that couples where the female is older may have been conforming to evolved mate preferences while ignoring the age factor. The results of Study 1 revealed that in particular contexts, there may be some truth to the popular adage, age does not matter. In Study 2, two experiments were designed to investigate a form of social learning, mate choice copying (MCC), particularly the role of models, as a possible explanation for why women choose younger men. In Experiment 1, college-age women participated in an experiment that explored the effects of age of female partner, attractiveness of female partner, and popularity on attractiveness of the male partner and on perceptions about the partnership. Caucasian faces were utilized in this experiment. Experiment 2 replicated Experiment 1 using Asian faces. Study 2 showed that MCC appeared to be facilitated with the Asian models, but not with the Caucasian models. Also, attractiveness of female partner and popularity may have effects that may facilitate positive perceptions of the older female-younger male partnership with Caucasian models. This may, in turn, facilitate mate choice copying.
... En cuanto a lo deseable o recomendable por la familia y la cultura con respecto a los rasgos físicos (ver tabla 3), se encontró que sólo el código de edad mostró que para las mujeres es importante ese rubro. En este ámbito se ha encontrado que los hombres prefieren mujeres más jóvenes y con mayor diferencia de edad a medida que su edad aumenta; en el caso de ellas, eligen hombres mayores y con menor diferencia de edad en relación con el aumento de su propia edad (Kenrick & Keefe, 1992). No obstante, en esta investigación la recomendación resultó significativa sólo para las mujeres. ...
Article
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El presente estudio versa sobre el impacto de la cultura a través de la familia, y en cómo hombres y mujeres eligen pareja. A pesar de que hoy en día se elige al (a) compañero(a) en función de gustos y afinidades personales, en la realidad parece que la familia sigue participando consciente o inconscientemente en la elección de pareja de sus miembros. En épocas pasadas ésta se hacía con base en intereses meramente económicos y familiares; sin embargo, al pasar de los años, esto fue cambiando hasta el punto en que se supone que la elección es totalmente una decisión personal. En este sentido, el objetivo de este estudio fue saber si existen consejos o recomendaciones de la familia y la cultura para elegir pareja, y si son tomados en cuenta para emparejarse. Para llevar a cabo este estudio se aplicó un cuestionario abierto con las preguntas antes mencionadas a 228 participantes, de los cuales 154 eran mujeres y 74 hombres. Las edades fluctuaron entre los 19 y 56 años. Provenían de diversas universidades públicas, privadas y algunos centros de trabajo. Tras hacer un análisis de contenido se identificaron 28 códigos que se agruparon en cuatro familias. A su vez, se realizaron X2 para identificar si existen diferencias por sexo en las categorías. Los resultados indican que más de la mitad de la muestra refiere tomar en cuenta las recomendaciones de su familia, aunado a que existen diferencias en lo que la cultura y la familia recomiendan a hombres y a mujeres.
... The great ape data suggest that the attraction of human men to young women (Buss 1989;Kenrick and Keefe 1992) is a derived feature linked to long-term pair bonding. Whereas men seeking marriage partners may be concerned with the years of fertility remaining, great ape males can be expected to allocate reproductive effort according to a female's likelihood of bearing offspring in the immediate future, as well as her probability of successfully rearing them. ...
Chapter
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The living hominids share a suite of life history features that distinguishes them from other primates, including larger body size, extended juvenile growth and development, and a long lifespan. While modern humans exhibit many distinctions from their great ape relatives, these species provide an important reference by which to infer the life history characteristics of our last common ancestor. Demographic analysis of the great apes reveals specifically how life histories changed during recent human evolution and can provide perspective on inter-and intra-specific variation in life history features. In this chapter, we provide the most detailed information available on demographic characteristics of great apes, comparisons with humans, and discussion of the proximate factors that influence life history variation across the clade. 2
... Moreover, a consideration of the specific fitness-relevant information that the limbal ring predicts can be used to generate a priori predictions about individual differences in the deployment of these behaviors. If prominent limbal rings are a cue to youth, and men's attractiveness-assessment mechanisms place greater value on cues to youth than women's attractiveness-assessment mechanisms do (see Buss, 1989;Kenrick & Keefe, 1992;Symons, 1979;Williams, 1975), then we should expect to observe sex differences in the deployment of these limbal ring-enhancement behaviors: Women, more than men, should engage in behaviors to manipulate this visual cue. This hypothesis is novel, although, for eyeliner usage, it may be complicated by already-known sex differences in the use of makeup. ...
... And while older males are more prone to the rare spontaneous de novo mutations that can increase the risk of conditions like autism, there is no critical threshold for sperm production, and men can realize offspring far beyond their 40s [28]. Therefore, evolutionary science has theorized and demonstrated that males are more likely to state a preference for females at peak fertility [11] even when they themselves are beyond this stage [29], whereas females are more likely to refine their specific mate preferences across their years of peak fertility [11]. Yet, the size of the relative difference in both sexes' preference for aesthetics in a mate-at different life stagesremains unclear. ...
Article
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Because sexual attraction is a key driver of human mate choice and reproduction, we descriptively assess relative sex differences in the level of attraction individuals expect in the aesthetic, resource, and personality characteristics of potential mates. As a novelty we explore how male and female sexual attractiveness preference changes across age, using a dataset comprising online survey data for over 7,000 respondents across a broad age distribution of individuals between 18 and 65 years. In general, we find that both males and females show similar distribution patterns in their preference responses, with statistically significant sex differences within most of the traits. On average, females rate age, education, intelligence, income, trust, and emotional connection around 9 to 14 points higher than males on our 0–100 scale range. Our relative importance analysis shows greater male priority for attractiveness and physical build , compared to females, relative to all other traits. Using multiple regression analysis, we find a consistent statistical sex difference (males relative to females) that decreases linearly with age for aesthetics , while the opposite is true for resources and personality , with females exhibiting a stronger relative preference, particularly in the younger aged cohort. Exploring non-linearity in sex difference with contour plots for intelligence and attractiveness across age (mediated by age) indicates that sex differences in attractiveness preferences are driven by the male cohort (particularly age 30 to 40) for those who care about the importance of age, while intelligence is driven by females caring relatively more about intelligence for those who see age as very important (age cohort 40 to 55). Overall, many of our results indicate distinct variations within sex at key life stages, which is consistent with theories of selection pressure. Moreover, results also align with theories of parental investment, the gender similarities hypothesis, and mutual mate choice–which speaks to the fact that the broader discipline of evolutionary mate choice research in humans still contains considerable scope for further inquiry towards a unified theory, particularly when exploring sex-difference across age.
... We hypothesized that the sexual criterion would predominate when men judged female facial attractiveness, whereas the aesthetic criterion would predominate when women judged men. This is because males and females generally differ regarding the bases for their attraction to an opposite-gender mate (Conroy-Beam et al., 2015;Kenrick & Keefe, 1992;Wiederman, 1993). According to numerous studies regarding mate preference (Bailey et al., 1994;Buss, 1987Buss, , 1989Buss et al., 2001;Grøntvedt & Kennair, 2013;Marlowe, 2004;Symons, 1979), among males, a mate's physical attractiveness signals current fertility and future reproductive value; for example, sexually dimorphic feminine features are consistently preferred by male raters (Perret et al., 1998). ...
Article
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People tend to assign higher attractiveness to an individual viewed from the back than head on. This tendency is pronounced when males rate the attractiveness of women. This study investigated reasons for the previously observed gender difference in this bias, focusing on the social relationship between raters (participants) and rated models (stimuli). To manipulate the assumed social relationship, we explicitly instructed participants in advance to rate the front/back view of an opposite-gender individual as a romantic partner (romance-based condition) or as a friend (friend-based condition). The back-view bias was robustly observed in both male and female raters under every condition. More importantly, male raters showed an enhanced back-view bias under the romance-based condition compared to the friend-based condition, whereas female raters showed less bias, irrespective of the assumed social relationship. We discuss these results in terms of gender differences in criteria used to form judgments of attractiveness.
... 1 Women's fertility rapidly declines with age, whereas men's fertility does not. Biologists and anthropologists argue that this dissymmetry could explain the well-documented preference of men for younger women (Hayes, 1995;Kenrick & Keefe, 1992). Low, 2013 evaluates this young age premium for women and names it "reproductive capital," as it gives them an advantage on the marriage market over older women. ...
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In this paper, we extend Gary Becker's empirical analysis of the marriage market to same-sex couples. Becker's theory rationalizes the well-known phenomenon of homogamy among different-sex couples: individuals mate with their likes because many characteristics, such as education, consumption behaviour, desire to nurture children, religion, etc., exhibit strong complementarities in the household production function. However, because of asymmetries in the distributions of male and female characteristics, men and women may need to marry "up" or "down" according to the relative shortage of their characteristics among the populations of men and women. Yet, among same-sex couples, this limitation does not exist as partners are drawn from the same population, and thus the theory of assortative mating would boldly predict that individuals will choose a partner with nearly identical characteristics. Empirical evidence suggests a very different picture: a robust stylized fact is that the correlation of the characteristics is in fact weaker among same-sex couples. In this paper, we build an equilibrium model of same-sex marriage market which allows for straightforward identification of the gains to marriage. We estimate the model with 2008-2012 ACS data on California and show that positive assortative mating is weaker for homosexuals than for heterosexuals with respect to age and race. Our results suggest that positive assortative mating with respect to education is stronger among lesbians, and not significantly different when comparing gay men and married different-sex couples. As regards labor market outcomes, such as hourly wages and working hours, we find some indications that the process of specialization within the household mainly applies to different-sex couples.
... Evolutionary scientists suggest that the interest in and sensitivity to female physical appearance is not culturally arbitrary but reflects evolved cognitive mechanisms that motivated successful ancestral human mate selection [6,[8][9][10][11][12]. Because of the links between female fecundity and youth and health [13][14][15][16][17][18][19] humans universally ascribe importance to attractiveness, health, and youth in women [3,[20][21][22][23]. Apparently variable attractiveness standards across populations have been a topic of systematic research since the observations of Darwin in 1871 [24] and Westermarck in 1891 [25], and social and cultural scientists have advocated against communality in attractiveness assessments across cultures [26]. ...
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Humans extract and use information from the face in assessments of physical appearance. Previous research indicates high agreement about facial attractiveness within and between cultures. However, the use of a narrow age range for facial stimuli, limitations due to unidirectional cross-cultural comparisons, and technical challenges have prevented definitive conclusions about the universality of face perception. In the present study, we imaged the faces of women aged 20 to 69 years in five locations (China, France, India, Japan, and South Africa) and secured age, attractiveness, and health assessments on continuous scales (0–100) from female and male raters (20–66 years) within and across ethnicity. In total, 180 images (36 of each ethnicity) were assessed by 600 raters (120 of each ethnicity), recruited in study centres in the five locations. Linear mixed model analysis revealed main and interaction effects of assessor ethnicity, assessor gender, and photographed participant (“face”) ethnicity on age, attractiveness, and health assessments. Thus, differences in judgments of female facial appearance depend on the ethnicity of the photographed person, the ethnicity of the assessor, and whether the assessor is female or male. Facial age assessments correlated negatively with attractiveness and health assessments. Collectively, these findings provide evidence of cross-cultural variation in assessments of age, and even more of attractiveness, and health, indicating plasticity in perception of female facial appearance across cultures, although the decline in attractiveness and health assessments with age is universally found.
... For example, heterosexual men tend to prefer relatively younger female partners (i.e., partners with higher residual fertility), while heterosexual women tend to prefer relatively older male partners (i.e. partners with higher status and more resources) (Grøntvedt, & Kennair, 2013;Kenrick & Keefe, 1992). Thus, if being female leads to preference for older partners and being male leads to preference for younger partners, then mate preferences should be sex-specific irrespective of sexual orientation. ...
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Human sexual orientation is an intriguing phenomenon which is still poorly understood and has important evolutionary implications. Evolutionary based studies mostly focus on heterosexual individuals and relationships, probably because non-heterosexuality concerns a minority of the population and decreases individual direct reproductive success. To better understand human nature, it is important to analyse whether the mating psychology of minorities exhibit specific evolved sexual/reproductive strategies. Here we review studies on partner preferences, mate choice, and flirting in non-heterosexual populations, to identify which patterns are similar to or different from heterosexuals. The general pattern supports the notion that sex differences are larger than within sex variation among people of different sexual orientations. However, although some mating strategies among non-heterosexuals resemble heterosexuals of the same sex, others resemble heterosexuals of the opposite sex, and yet in others, the pattern is different than among either heterosexual men or women. We point to limitations of the current state of this research, and we suggest possible future directions in the study of non-heterosexual relationship initiation.
... For example, heterosexual men tend to prefer relatively younger female partners (i.e., partners with higher residual fertility), while heterosexual women tend to prefer relatively older male partners (i.e. partners with higher status and more resources) (Grøntvedt, & Kennair, 2013;Kenrick & Keefe, 1992). Thus, if being female leads to preference for older partners and being male leads to preference for younger partners, then mate preferences should be sex-specific irrespective of sexual orientation. ...
Preprint
Human sexual orientation is an intriguing phenomenon which is still poorly understood and has important evolutionary implications. Evolutionary based studies mostly focus on heterosexual individuals and relationships, probably because non-heterosexuality concerns a minority of the population and decreases individual direct reproductive success. To better understand human nature, it is important to analyse whether the mating psychology of minorities exhibit specific evolved sexual/reproductive strategies. Here we review studies on partner preferences, mate choice, and flirting in non-heterosexual populations, to identify which patterns are similar to or different from heterosexuals. The general pattern supports the notion that sex differences are larger than within sex variation among people of different sexual orientations. However, although some mating strategies among non-heterosexuals resemble heterosexuals of the same sex, others resemble heterosexuals of the opposite sex, and yet in others, the pattern is different than among either heterosexual men or women. We point to limitations of the current state of this research, and we suggest possible future directions in the study of non-heterosexual relationship initiation.
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This review explores research over the past quarter century on couples with age differences. I present recent global trends in age‐dissimilar couplings, illustrating a shift away from statistical marriage studies focusing on relationships' motivations, inequalities, and challenges, and largely underpinned by biological, economic, or demographic outlooks. Since the last review of age‐dissimilar couples in 1993, there have been substantive qualitative developments. Scholarship looking beyond Euro‐American contexts is increasingly common, as are approaches examining class, race, sexuality, culture, religion, and nationality, as well as age, marital status, education, and employment. This transformation informs new perspectives on power and partner choice. I argue that research now needs more fluid definitions of age differences, greater range in qualitative studies' geographies and methodologies, and continued consideration of the life course and intersecting differences. Examinations of age‐dissimilar couples should thus focus on these relationships' varied configurations, explored through a range of social analyses.
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It is widely held that positional characteristics such as gender, age, education and race reflect experience. Here I draw attention to the fact that the understanding of how these and other positional characteristics matter is pre-determined by the theoretical positionality that we forget about. To show that theorizing is to take a position (on positionality), I present a new “dialogic autoethnography” of the two years I spent online dating. In this dialogic autoethnographic approach, I tell the story and then engage in a dialogue with a series of composite theoretical “others” each of which has a different take on the story. These others include a socio-biologist, a sexual fielder, an intersectionalist, and a loving relater. In so doing, I proffer a broadened conceptualization of positionality and its relationship to both story and theory. Theorizing affects how we understand positionality within a story. Theorizing is positionality.
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Objectives: Male preferences are believed to have played a role in the evolution of permanently enlarged breasts in human females. Although breast size and shape are proven to affect women's attractiveness, their relative importance has not been investigated thus far. We aime to address this gap. Methods: We prepared two sets of stimuli, each comprising 49 high-quality color images of a topless woman in a three-quarter view that varied in breast size (from 1 to 7) and firmness (from 1 to 7). Set A depicted the glandular ptosis (ie, breast shape being manipulated but the nipple always directed forward), while Set B depicted true ptosis (both breast shape and nipple position being manipulated). Participants (aged 18-45) were assigned to Set A (62 women, 60 men) or Set B (76 women, 52 men). First, each participant indicated the most attractive woman in the set of images. Next, the participant chose the more attractive woman from pairs in which one female deviated from the participant's ideal in breast size and the other in breast firmness. Results: Both men and women preferred breasts of average or slightly above-average size and high or extreme firmness. Glandular ptosis was as important for attractiveness as breast size, but true ptosis was of much greater importance. Men preferred slightly bigger breasts than women. Conclusions: Further attempts to explain evolution of permanent breasts in human females should give greater attention to breast shape than has previously been the case.
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Do uncertain events (such as COVID‐19) influence the types of partners that males and females feel attracted to in (online) dating? Four studies show that partner preferences are not fixed but dynamic and depend on people's temporary psychological state of uncertainty. Specifically, we show that when facing uncertainty, women are more attracted to men with tougher versus more tender facial features, whereas men are more attracted to women with more tender versus tougher facial features. This effect attenuates under certainty. We show furthermore that uncertainty (but not certainty) increases the preference of stereotypical partner types (caring vs. strong), which can be inferred from these facial features. These results are replicated with different facial stimuli and when uncertainty is activated due to COVID‐19, pointing to the timeliness and generalizability of the findings. These findings have implications for our understanding of how and why partner preferences are influenced by uncertainty.
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