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WHAT WOMEN WANT By Sarah Saad. SEXUAL SELECTION Goal: to promote good mating choices Sexual Dimorphism: the degree to which sexes differ in physical.

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Presentation on theme: "WHAT WOMEN WANT By Sarah Saad. SEXUAL SELECTION Goal: to promote good mating choices Sexual Dimorphism: the degree to which sexes differ in physical."— Presentation transcript:



3 SEXUAL SELECTION Goal: to promote good mating choices Sexual Dimorphism: the degree to which sexes differ in physical characteristics usually refers to size differences Human males on average are 20% larger than females

4 EVOLUTIONARY BACKGROUND Provisioning Hypothesis: Claims that a dietary shift towards meat as well as sexual division of labor (i.e. men as hunters and women as foragers) led to pair bonding and increased male investment in child rearing

5 MATING PREFERENCES David Buss o Conducted a study to determine which characteristics were universally favored by men and women in long-term partners o Surveyed 10,000 participants from 37 cultures o Characteristics were rated from 0 to 3, 0 being irrelevant and 3 being indispensable

6 Characteristic Male rating for females Female rating for males Degree of sex difference Degree of cross- cultural variation Love2.812.87Low Dependability2.502.69LowHigh Emotional stability/maturity 2.472.68Moderate Pleasing disposition 2.442.52LowHigh Good looks1.911.46HighModerate Ambition and Industriousness 1.852.15High Good financial prospect 1.511.76HighLow Favorable social status 1.161.46Moderate Chastity1.06.75LowHigh

7 FINANCIAL RESOURCES, INDUSTRIOUSNESS AND SOCIAL STATUS Women favored social status, industriousness and financial resources more than men did Resources can be assed directly by a his job, car or other inclinations of financial well-being Indirectly by his social status and level of industriousness Evolutionary psychologists claim that this arose because ancestral women benefitted greatly from choosing mates that could provide for their offspring

8 FINANCIAL RESOURCES, INDUSTRIOUSNESS AND SOCIAL STATUS The degree of difference between womens and mens preference for financial resources varies culturally In cultures in which women have greater financial independence, male status and resources are valued less In India, Iran and Nigeria, there is more emphasis on male financial resources than in South Africa and Holland

9 PREFERENCE FOR GOOD LOOKS Buss findings show that women prefer good financial resources and high social status to good looks These qualities are usually achieved later in life for men, so older men are usually preferred Gandestad and Buss (1993): there is greater emphasis on male physical attractiveness in areas where parasites are most common Facial and body symmetry are believed to be good indications of health and parasite resistance

10 PREFERENCE FOR GOOD LOOKS Despite a preference for economic means, women do have defined attractions to certain physical features Dixon (2003) found that women in Britain and Sri Lanka prefer lean, muscular body types and would favor a skinny body type over a heavy body type Muscular men are particularly preferred as short term partners and especially by ovulating women Broad shoulders relative to waist size are preferred, the V-shape Chest hair is also preferred

11 PREFERENCE FOR GOOD LOOKS Interestingly, while women tend to prefer masculine body traits, promoted by testosterone, they do not prefer masculine facial features Johnston (2001) found that men with masculine facial features were thought to be less investing as fathers when compared to men with less masculine facial features

12 PREFERENCE FOR GOOD LOOKS Jedlicka (1980) found that offspring of parents of mixed ethnicity tended to marry individuals who resembled their opposite-sex parent Social pressure could have played a role as well

13 WHAT IS LOVE? Buss study ranked love as the most important requirement in long-term relationships, but what is its purpose? Love is defined as an intense feeling of deep affection It is essential to long-term relationships because it signifies commitment and dedication Its ultimate function is to foster and ensure parental investment from both parents


15 SHORT TERM DATING Clark and Hatfield (1989) studied casual sex on a university campus They had attractive coeds ask the opposite sex to sleep with them 75% of males agreed 0% of women agreed While men view this as an opportunity for sex, women see it as a threat and an insult, possibly because they have more to lose

16 SHORT TERM DATING: EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIRS Buss has asserted that under certain conditions, multiple pre- martial or post-marital matings can be beneficial Between 20-50% of married women have extramarital affairs in the United States Evolutionary psychologists have suggested that women can benefit, materially and genetically, from casual sex in much the same way as chimps and baboons do in the process of resource extraction Baker and Bellis (1998) found that the men that married women had extramarital affairs tended to be of higher status than their husbands

17 QUESTIONS As women become more independent financially and socially, how do you think their preferences for long-term partners will change? To what extent do you believe cultural and social pressure affect these preferences or dating strategies?

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