MSNBC News Services - 8:10 p.m. ET July 10, 2006 : “New letters shed light on Einstein’s love life … Einstein admitted he spent time with six other women while married”
What is Mating Intelligence? Miller’s answer: All aspects of human intelligence that were primarily designed for courtship purposes (roughly: all indices of creative intelligence with no clear survival value)
Miller’s conceptualization proposes that all intelligence is mating intelligence, on one hand – but his link between such intelligence and mating is decidedly indirect...
But what about all the cognitive abilities that relate directly to human mating? Cross-Sex Mind-Reading Detecting Infidelity Assessing One’s Own Mate-Value Assessing Value of Potential Mates Strategic Flexibility in the Mating Market
A Model of Mating Intelligence (Geher & Miller, in press; Geher, Camargo, & O’Rourke, in press) Mental Fitness Displays Mating Success Cognitive Mating Mechanisms
A Study of Mating-Relevant Cross-Sex Mind-Reading How well do you know the desires of potential mates? Are there systematic biases in mind-reading that are relatively intelligent?
Emotional Intelligence: A Model for Studying Mating Intelligence The Ability-Based Method for Studying Emotional Intelligence (Mayer & Geher, 1996)
Operationalizing Mating Intelligence A.The degree to which participants can accurately guess which personal ads were rated as most attractive to members of the opposite sex B.The degree to which participants’ errors in judging desires of the opposite-sex are adaptive
Participants Heterosexual Young Adults (Males: 152; Females: 329) Materials 1.Index of General Intelligence (Army Alpha Vocabulary Test): Sample item: Plenary: Complete – Candid – Culpable – Cloying 2. Indices of both Long-Term and Short-Term Mating Intelligence
Short-Term Mating Intelligence (Male Example) A: I love sex, generally, and … BLEEPED … in particular. No strings, no reciprocation necessary (although I wouldn’t be adverse to it!). You call the shots as much or as little as you wish. I’ve explored the Kinky. B: I grow more humble but no less passionate about life every waking day. I laugh at myself, care about a lot, and strive to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. I’m pretty simple, but have many talents: play several instruments, and I’m a decent gardener. C: I fully recognize that succeeding means drawing on multiple talents, the best that everyone has to offer—so it seems with relationships. I enjoy many of life’s fine refinements, but I also realize that the best things in life are free.
The Task at Hand To guess which of these three ads was chosen by most women as the most attractive for a short-term, sexual relationship. Male Short-Term MI Female Short-Term MI Male Long-Term MI Female Long-Term MI 4 Total Indices were computed in this study:
Analyses (Phase 1): How Good Were Participants at This Task? Male Short-Term Mating Intelligence: OptionOE A: I love sex, generally, and … BLEEP … in particular... 5844.40 B: I grow more humble but no less passionate about life every waking day... 3438.25 C: I fully recognize that succeeding means drawing on multiple talents... 3140.34 2 (2) = 6.80, p <.05; N = 123
Overall Trends for all Types of Judgments Male Long-Term Judgments Generally Accurate (Mean 2 = 6.09, p <.05) Male Short-Term Judgments Not Too Shabby (Mean 2 = 13.54, p <.01) Female Long-Term Judgments Shabby (Mean 2 = 35.81, p <.01) Female Short-Term Judgments Very Shabby (Mean 2 = 62.67, p <.01)
A rare case of males demonstrating superiority in a social skill compared with females …
But … Does “Accurate” Correspond to “Intelligent?” Not Necessarily... Haselton & Buss (2000) – Error Management Theory Males tend to overestimate sexual interest on the part of females (The “I think she likes me that way” Bias) Females tend to be Commitment Skeptics (The “all men are pigs” Bias)
Error Management Effects in the Current Study All ads were rated by two independent judges in terms of presence of sexual content (categorically defined as present or not) Sample Male Short-Term Item coded as having sexual content: I love sex, generally, and … BLEEP … in particular... ___________________________________________________ Sample Female Short-Term Item coded as having sexual content: I am searching for a fling of epic proportions, someone to caress my face as we kiss and who will write me love notes and leave them under my door—but will not get upset with me if I decide to kiss another man. Human beings are not meant to be paired for life, like lobsters.
Defining Male Error Management Instances in which: A.Male overall guessing was significantly off B.Errors were such that males tended to overestimate degree to which females would choose sexually charged item
Option (from male short-term scale)OE A (SEXUALLY CHARGED ITEM): I love sex, generally, and … BLEEP … in particular... 58 (over- est.) 44.40 B: I grow more humble but no less passionate about life every waking day... 3438.25 C: I fully recognize that succeeding means drawing on multiple talents... 3140.34 2 (2) = 6.80, p <.05; N = 123
Summary of Male Results Long-Term Judgments – Accurate overall – did not overestimate degree to which females were interested in sexual items Short-Term Judgments – 5 of 10 items had one or more sexual ads – IN EACH CASE (5 of 5), males overestimated the degree to which females chose the sexually charged ad
Defining Female Error Management Instances in which: Female overall guessing was significantly off Errors were such that sexually charged items were overestimated
Option (from female short-term scale)OE A:... I will make your favorite sandwich when you wake up in the night... 102157.97 B (SEXUALLY CHARGED ITEM):... looking for a fling of epic proportions... Human beings are not meant to be paired for life, like lobsters... 156 (over- est.) 71.25 C: I am the kind of girl who loves to sing. I know all the words to Grease... 3140.34 2 (2) = 133.83, p <.05; N = 289
Summary of Female Results Long-Term Judgments – 5 of 10 items had one or more sexual ads – IN EACH CASE (5 of 5), females overestimated the degree to which males chose the sexually charged ad Short-Term Judgments – 4 of 10 items had one or more sexual ads – IN 3 of 4 cases, females overestimated the degree to which males chose the sexually charged ad Evidence for a ‘Men are Always Pigs’ bias?
Is Either Accuracy or Adaptive Mind-Reading g-Loaded? Not for Females: Neither accuracy nor commitment- skepticism-bias was associated with vocabulary scores. Maybe for Males???
Correlations between IQ and Indices of Accuracy and Adaptive Bias (for Males) IQ____________ Accuracy in Long-Term Mating Judgments.06 Accuracy in Short-Term Mating Judgments.13 Overestimating Sexual Qualities (LT).05 Overestimating Sexual Qualities (ST).30* 1 ____________________________________________________ N = 127 for all; *p <.05; 1 significantly predictive of IQ after controlling for other predictors in standard regression. (F(4, 123) = 3.21, p <.05; R 2 =.10)
Implications Sex Differences Males are more accurate overall (consistent with findings from Bromley & Camargo (in prep.); DeBacker, Braeckman, & Farinpour, in press)
Males Rarely are Better than Females at Social Intelligence Tasks... Female superiority has been demonstrated in: ● Emotional intelligence (Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 1999) ● Social Intelligence (Connellana, Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Batkia, Jag, & Ahluwaliab, 2000) ● Interpersonal Intelligence (Rammstedt, Thomas H. Rammsayer, 1999) ● Nonverbal abilities (Nowicki, 1994) ● Decoding in Communication (Noller, 1986)
Two hypothesized effects may account for this sex difference A. Heterosexual men may have more motivation to be accurate given the notoriously discriminating nature of the objects of their desire. B. Given the reputation of males in the mating game, women may be wisest to employ a simple “all he wants is sex” heuristic. (Commitment Skepticism may pay in the long-run)
The Future of Mating Intelligence Research 1. How g-loaded are facets of mating intelligence? 1A. are courtship-display components more g-loaded than mating mechanisms? 2. Is our model of mating intelligence factorially valid? 3. Are mating mechanisms more designed for accuracy or adaptive bias (Fletcher & Simpson, 2000)? 4. Are the elements of mating intelligence predictive of mating success (Camargo, in progress)?
5. Would the the cross-sex mind-reading abilities documented in this study transfer to effectiveness in choosing the correct bachelor or bachelorette on The Dating Game?
Will the Mating Intelligence construct live up to its introduction in this presentation as the best thing since sliced bread? We’ll have to wait and see!
Acknowledgements Thanks to my wonderful research assistants from SUNY New Paltz: Eli Boyle, Mike Camargo, Michelle Coombs, Elisabeth Dewispelaere, Jason Diffenderfer, Warren Greig, Kelly Fairweather, Rachel Fetters, Kimona Hanson, Krystle Hearns, John Johnson, Jill Lavallee, Justin Lee, Heather Mangione, Nilerisha Mollette, Regina Musicaro, Uzoma Ugonabo, Erica White.
... and to others who’ve provided input and/or guidance: Alice Andrews, David Buss, Kathy Geher, Scott Barry Kaufman, Jack Mayer, Geoffrey Miller, Kaja Perina – and all the contributors to our book (coming soon to a bookshelf near you!).... and thanks for listening! For more information on my research, see: glenngeher.com