Presentation on theme: "Sex Differences in human mate preferences"— Presentation transcript:
1 Sex Differences in human mate preferences Buss (1989)Sex Differences in human mate preferences
2 ContextDarwin- suggested mate selection was a matter of evolution (reproduction/ survival of one’s genes).Evolutionary psychologists believe mate selection can be affected by instincts maximising our chances of reproducing.Buss was interested in 3 of these instincts:Parental investment- Trivers (1972) women should favour ambitious, hardworking and rich men.Women invest more into child rearing (pregnancy/ typically the primary caregiver) than men and are thus fussier in choosing a partner.Reproductive value- Access to fertile females is the main factor affecting male reproduction.Men will favour young women as female fertility peaks in late teens/ early twenties.Facial appearance gives cues as to age. Therefore, men will favour facial attractiveness.Paternal probability- want to be certain they pass on their genes.Men value chastity more.
3 AimDo parental investment, reproductive value, and paternal probability hold true across cultures- if so, they are likely to be a result of evolution.??
4 Procedure- Sample 37 samples from 33 countries across 6 continents… In cases where countries had more than one separate population (Israel, Canada, S.Africa) a sample was taken from each population.10,047 participants4601 male, 5446 femaleAvg. age: 23.05Sampling method:OpportunityStudent samples, people applying for marriage licenses (Estonia), secondary-age schoolchildren (New Zealand)Self-selecting/ volunteerResponders to a newspaper advert (Germany).
5 Procedure- Measure/ DV 2 questionnaires in native languageQuestionnaire on factors affecting mate choiceFiller questions disguise the aim of the experiment.Target variables of age, attractiveness, good financial prospects, chastity, ambition, industriousness, and no previous sexual experience.Rating scale:Questionnaire ranking factors affecting mate choiceRank 13 factors by most important when choosing a partnerIncluded good earning capacity and physical attractiveness.123IrrelevantIndispensable
6 Findings Good financial prospects Ambition and industriousness 36/37 cultures women placed more importance on good financial prospects than men.Ambition and industriousness34/37 women placed more emphasis on ambition and industriousness than menIn Spanish, Columbian, and Zulu S.African samples this was reversedAttractivenessIn 37/37 cultures men rated attractiveness as more important than women.
7 Findings Cont. Preferred age of partner Chastity Men preferred a partner younger than themselves, and younger than the average woman’s ideal age of partner.Women preferred a man older than themselves.ChastityMost men preferred chaste women.In Western European countries this was only emphasised in Ireland.Greatest cultural variation.
8 Conclusions Largely supports evolutionary theory Parental investment, reproductive value, and paternal probability are important in mate choice across most cultures.
9 Evaluation- Strengths Large sample size- representative. Increased generalisability of results.Validity- two separate measures used.Questionnaires are valid measures of mate preferences.Studies using other measures, such as marriage records, have been criticised for measuring mate selection rather than preference.Cultural differences such as arranged marriage.
10 Evaluation- Weaknesses Sampling procedures unrepresentativeMajority of participants from industrialised countriesMajority of student samplesMeasure reduces representativenessCan only be used for literate population.Cultural differences: in some countries education for women is less valued.Demand characteristicsParticipant may guess the aim of the experiment particularly from the ranking task.Socially sensitiveEvolution- deterministic (lack of free will).Feminism- justifies discrimination (men value young, attractive women)
11 Past Exam Questions Section A Describe the findings and conclusions of Buss’s (1989) research ‘Sex differences in human mate preferences’.  2010Outline the procedures of Buss’s (1989) research ‘Sex differences in human mate preferences’.  2009Section BEvaluate the methodology of Buss’s (1989) research ‘Sex differences in human mate preferences’.  2011Critically assess Buss’s (1989) research ‘Sex differences in human mate preferences’.  2009