Presentation on theme: "An evolutionary perspective on human mating: Strategies of self- promotion, competitor derogation, and mate poaching."— Presentation transcript:
An evolutionary perspective on human mating: Strategies of self- promotion, competitor derogation, and mate poaching.
“From an evolutionary perspective, human mating requires solving adaptive problems.” (Schmitt & Buss, 1996). Adaptive problem 1: Differential parental investment: finding fertile partners versus finding a partner that can devote resources. Adaptive problem 2: Paternity certainty
Solution to adaptive problem 1: Men value fertile females. Look for features that indicate fertility in partner (e.g., smooth skin, firm muscle tone). Women value high-status, resourceful males. Look for earning potential and surgency because these indicate ability of partner to provide resources. Solution to adaptive problem 2: In the context of long-term mating, men value women who are sexually exclusive.
“Evolved romantic desires are considered by evolutionary psychologists to be the historical end products, not the current cause, of differential reproductive success.” “Nevertheless, the residual design features of our evolved desires seem to continue to exert an unbidden influence on the form and effectiveness of modern romantic attraction behaviour.” (Schmitt & Buss, 2001).
Cross-cultural study by Buss (1989). Thirty-seven cultures from five continents. 10,047 respondents 4,601 males (mean age 23.49, standard deviation 3.01) 5,446 females (mean age 22.52, standard deviation 2.67)
Question 1: Good financial prospects. Results: Relative to men, women feel that good financial prospects is a more important feature in a partner. The pattern was observed in all 37 cultures and statistically significant in 36 out of 37.
Question 2: Ambition and industriousness. Results: Relative to men, women feel that ambition and industriousness are more important features in a partner. This pattern was found in 34 cultures and statistically significant in 29 cultures.
Question 3: Good looks. Results: Relative to women, men feel that good looks are a more important feature in a partner. This pattern was found in all 37 cultures and statistically significant in 34 cultures.
Question 4: No previous experience in sexual intercourse. Results: Relative to women, men feel that no previous experience in sexual intercourse (i.e., virginity or chastity) is a more important feature in a partner. This pattern was found in 32 cultures and statistically significant in 23 cultures.
Question 5: Age difference preferred between self and spouse. Results: Men in all cultures prefer spouses who are younger (by 2.66 years on average). Women in all cultures prefer spouses who are older (by 3.42 years on average). Difference between males and females is significant in all cultures. Actual age difference across 30 cultures: 2.99 years (men older).
Strategic Mate Attraction “People now posses evolved preferences for mates who will help solve their adaptive problems, and they effectively attract potential mates by signalling that they will solve, and others will not solve, the potential mates’ adaptive problems.” (Schmitt & Buss, 1996). “Both men and women have faced temporally unique problems in long-term versus short-term mating contexts.” (Schmitt & Buss, 1996).
To attract males To attract females Short-term Display sexual availability Be highly attractive Display current ability and willingness to devote resources Display dominance and status Be attractive Long-term Exclusive sexual access Be attractive Enduring commitment Display kindness Display future ability and willingness to devote resources Enduring commitment Display kindness Relatively effective strategies to attract mates (Hypothesized)
Effective for attracting males in a short-term context: Act flirtatious Act seductively Have sex Make a proposition Sexualize appearance Act dumb Call rival sexually unavailable Ineffective tactics: Call rival promiscuous Question rival’s intelligence
Effective for attracting males in a long-term context: Display sexual exclusivity Question rival’s fidelity
Effective for attracting females in a short-term context: Give resources immediately Act macho Display surgency Display resources Derogate rival’s current finances Derogate rival’s strength Derogate rival’s surgency Dominate competitor Outshine rival in sports
Effective for attracting females in a long-term context: Show resource potential Display resources Derogate rival’s achievements Derogate rival’s resource potential Suggest rival has no goals Derogate rival’s current finances
Effective for attracting mates in long-term context: Act helpfulCall rival exploitative Act honestCall rival selfish Become friendsCall rival insensitive Communicate often Invoke love Show commitment Act kind Act sensitive
Effective for attracting mates in a short-term context: Enhance physical attractiveness Derogate rival’s appearance Derogate rival’s physical attractiveness These strategies are also considered effective for attracting men in both short- and long-term contexts.
To attract males To attract females Short-term Accept his sexual offer Suggest spending time alone Flirt with him Make subtle physical contact Make him think of sex Accept her sexual offer Make yourself look good Make a good 1 st impression Show her you’re attracted Shower often Long-term Show loving devotion Avoid sex with other men Remain faithful to him Fall in love with him Date for a long time Be understanding of her Remain faithful to her Find common interest Show loving devotion Fall in love with her
Mate Poaching “Much of research on romantic attraction effectiveness is based on the implicit assumption that intrasexual competition centers around available mates in a mating pool. This assumption, however, bypasses a critical adaptive problem that must have been prevalent over human evolutionary history. Namely, many desirable mates are already mated and thus are not readily available or present in the eligible mating pool.” (Schmitt & Buss, 2001).
Perceived costs and benefits of poaching: MalesFemales Short-term Acquiring beauty Gaining sexual access Lack of responsibility Losing resources Gain resources Long-term Acquiring beauty Lack of responsibility Losing resources Commitment concerns Gain resources Commitment concerns
Cavemen and cavewomen? Are kindness and trustworthiness important? Is kindness a form of self-interest? Is there such a thing as true altruism and empathy?