Knowing Your Own Mate Value: Sex-Specific Personality Effects on the Accuracy of Expected Mate Choices

Department of Psychology, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz 55099, Germany.
Psychological Science (Impact Factor: 4.43). 07/2011; 22(8):984-9. DOI: 10.1177/0956797611414725
Source: PubMed


Knowing one's mate value (mate-value accuracy) is an important element in reproductive success. We investigated within- and between-sex differences in this ability in a real-life speed-dating event. A total of 190 men and 192 women filled out a personality questionnaire and participated in speed-dating sessions. Immediately after each date, participants recorded who they would choose as mates and who they expected would choose them. In line with evolutionarily informed hypotheses, results indicated that sociosexually unrestricted men and more agreeable women showed greater mate-value accuracy than sociosexually restricted men and less agreeable women, respectively. These results have important implications for understanding mating behavior and perhaps the origin of sex differences in personality.

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    • "Self-rated mate value (MVI-S) is correlated with an individual's preference for symmetry and dimorphism in a potential partner (Little et al., 2001), and increases in self-perceived mate value precede increases in men's preference for casual sexual encounters (Surbey & Brice, 2007). In addition, men who are aware of their own mate-value are typically more oriented toward a short-term mating strategy (Back et al., 2011), thus allowing men who are sexually competitive (in the mating market) to be more successful in employing a short-term (and long-term, for that matter) mating strategy. Women seeking extra-pair short-term partners typically seek high quality males for such encounters (Greiling & Buss, 2000), suggesting that such men would be more successful than low quality males at pursuing a short-term mating strategy. "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous research has demonstrated that while women prefer to look at the face of men regardless of relationship context, men preferentially look at women’s bodies for short-term (over long-term) relationship judgments. The current study examined how self-rated mate value and ‘mating intelligence’ correlate with the subjective importance of information from the face or body. In addition, given the apparent sex differences in these judgments, we investigated whether either sex is aware of how the opposite-sex prioritizes this. Participants were 266 undergraduate students/volunteers who completed an online survey, measuring preferences for information from the face or body in short-term or long-term contexts, and a range of self-rated mate value measures. Information from the body was more important in short-term contexts for men (but not women), and correlated positively with mating strategy measures. While both sexes overestimated the opposite-sex’s preference for looking at the body, women accurately perceived men’s differential investment in face or body across contexts, whereas men assumed that women make decisions similarly to themselves. Women might benefit more than men from awareness of opposite-sex preferences as this could afford the enhancement or reduction of cues to sexual availability.
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    • "p = .12; see Back et al., 2011a for details) and thus only perceived mating success should be expected to have an effect on testosterone levels; 3) Average flirting behaviour of all female dating partners a man encountered, which was reliably rated for every 30 s interval of the 3-min speed-dates from video recordings showing the woman only by two independent raters (see Back et al., 2011b for details). The average overall-flirting rating for all women each man encountered can be interpreted as a measure of exposure to female courtship behaviour. "
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    ABSTRACT: High facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) has been associated with a cluster of behavioural traits in men, including aggression and status-striving. This association between face structure and behaviour may be caused by testosterone. Here we investigated the relationship of both baseline and reactive testosterone levels to fWHR. In addition, we investigated the link between testosterone and three well-characterised sexually dimorphic facial metrics. Testosterone was measured in one sample of males (n = 185) before and after a speed-dating event. An additional sample provided only baseline testosterone measures (n = 92). fWHR was positively associated with testosterone reactions to potential mate exposure and marginally associated with baseline testosterone in Sample 1. We found a positive association with baseline testosterone and fWHR in Sample 2. In addition, face-width-to-lower-height ratio was positively associated with testosterone in both samples, suggesting that, in particular, facial width (scaled by two measures of facial height) is associated with testosterone. Importantly, our results also indicate that there is no association between adult testosterone and the sexual dimorphism of face shape. Thus, while our findings question the status of sexual dimorphism as a proxy measure of testosterone, they do provide evidence that testosterone is linked to fWHR and might underlie the relationship between fWHR and behaviour.
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