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The expected degree of mate choosiness is not simply a function of the minimum level of parental investment required of males and females. Other factors, such as the mating system and the degree of parental care offered by both parents after the birth of their offspring, are also important.
Unlike most mammals, human males often invest in their offspring beyond the initial investment of gametes Clutton-Brock, ; Geary, , suggesting that under some circumstances, male and female investment might actually be similar. This in turn would suggest that males and females would exhibit similar minimum criteria for prospective long-term mates.
However, the amount of parental investment provided by human males is highly variable Heath and Hadley, Although some males provide a great deal of parental investment, others provide very little or none at all beyond the initial investment of gametes.
For example, some research has found that fathers in many cultures almost never care for infants or young children, whereas other studies in the United States found that males did spend time caring for their children, but to a much lesser degree than did their mothers Geary, These findings translate into a general pattern in which average female parental investment is greater than that of males, both initially and after birth.
Recent studies confirm what many of us know intuitively, that humans exhibit a variety of mating strategies, adjusting mating behavior to current environmental, social and life-historical circumstances Gangestad and Simpson, Adjustments in mating strategies are likely related to patterns of parental investment, both within and between the sexes Bleske and Buss, ; Hill, Although in many mating contexts, the amount of parental investment risked by females is greater than that for males, there are also circumstances in which expected parental investment over the long-term may be more or less equal for males and females, or even greater for males.
For humans, Trivers' parental investment model leads to two predictions. First, both males and females will exhibit more stringent mate choice in mating situations entailing a higher level or risk of parental investment. Second, there will be a discrepancy in the stringency of male and female choosiness that is more or less proportional to their differential risk of parental investment. This means that overall, females should be choosier than are males, but the difference between them should decrease as the difference in expected parental investment decreases.
Much research effort has been devoted to examining the criteria that human males and females use to choose mates, including physical traits such as attractiveness Berry and Miller, , facial symmetry Thornhill and Gangestad, , body odor Herz and Inzlicht, ; Jacob et al. Fewer studies have been designed as explicit tests of Trivers' parental investment model as it relates variable risk of parental investment to mate choice.
The major exception is a series of studies by Kenrick et al. As predicted by the parental investment model, these studies had two important results. First, females were on average choosier than were males, although for some specific criteria, males were choosier than were females. Second, in both males and females, choosiness increases as risk of parental investment increases. There was one curious exception to this pattern: although females were choosier for relationships consisting of one-night stands a single sexual encounter and nonzero risk of pregnancy than for single dates no sexual encounter and zero risk of pregnancy , males exhibited significantly lower choosiness for one-night stands.
This result has been cited as evidence for the low standards in mate choice exhibited by human males, at least for sexual encounters that carry no commitment Alcock, : We were curious about why human males should exhibit this exception to the expected positive relationship between risk of parental investment PI and mate choosiness, an exception not predicted by Trivers' model, and one for which creative adaptive scenarios can easily be proposed cf.
We wondered if Kenrick et al. If males and females differently perceived risk of parental investment resulting from dates or one-night stands, this might be enough to explain the anomalous results for males. Therefore, we carried out a new version of Kenrick's studies, with certain adjustments, including explicitly defined levels of sexual activity in five types of relationship associated with increasing risk of parental investment.
This also allowed us to distinguish post hoc between real and perceived risk of parental investment. The participants were undergraduate students from Brock University, females and males. This research was approved for use with human subjects by the Brock University Research Ethics Board file number Participants did not receive compensation for participating in the research.
The questionnaire and raw data are available on request from M. The participants in the present study were requested to complete a questionnaire in which they indicated the minimum and maximum acceptable scores for particular traits in a potential partner, given a particular level of relationship. The possible scores ranged from one to 10 and were considered to be a measure of choosiness.
The personal traits assessed were chosen to replicate as closely as possible those used in the early studies by Kenrick et al. The characteristics used were kind, understanding, religious, exciting personality, creative, artistic, intelligent, good earning potential, hospitable, wants children, easy-going, free of genetic disease, ethnicity, university graduate, physically attractive, healthy, aggressive, ambitious, emotionally stable, friendly, popular, powerful, sexy, wealthy, good sense of humor, high social status, likes to be in charge, grooming, and hygiene.
The participants were also asked to rate themselves on the same criteria. An overall choosiness score was constructed by averaging all of the criteria for a given level of relationship. The levels of relationship examined were single date, one-night stand, casual dating, steady dating, and marriage. The levels of involvement were derived from Kenrick et al. The following definitions were included in the questionnaire: single date, a single date that would not include any sexual activity; one-night stand, this type of situation involves sexual intercourse with a person you did not know and would not see again; casual dating, which refers to partners involved in a relationship including sexual intercourse but not necessarily exclusively with one partner; steady dating, which refers to partners involved in a committed relationship, and would include sexual intercourse; and marriage, which refers to formal marriage.
The instructions on the questionnaire emphasized that all relationships were to be treated hypothetically and that by answering the questions, no subjects implied that they had ever engaged in any of these relationships. We did not ask questions about subjects' sexual orientation, attitudes to sex before marriage, or use of birth control. Two orders of presentation of the levels of relationship ascending or descending within the questionnaire were used in order to control for any order effects.
To minimize the biasing effect of self-rating on mate score Kenrick et al. Principal components analysis using choosiness scores for the 29 characteristics as variables was undertaken to assess the feasibility of aggregating the characteristics into a smaller number of composite trait groups to simplify the analyses.
Kenrick et al. Thus, for our data set, principal components analysis was not revealing, and we elected to analyze the data using general linear models as Kenrick et al. For all types of relationships, the overall mean choosiness scores of females were higher than those of males Figure 1 and Table 1. In both males and females, choosiness tended to increase as risk of parental investment increased, with a decrease in choosiness at the level of one-night stand.
Overall choosiness scores of male and female subjects ordered by real risk of parental investment as defined in the questionnaire. ANCOVA of overall choosiness scores as a function of gender and level of relationship, with overall self-ratings as a covariate data in Figure 1. Separate analyses of choosiness scores for each characteristic revealed that for some characteristics Table 2 , females were choosier than were males, whereas for others males were choosier than were females, or there was no difference between the sexes.
Because self-rating and choosiness scores tend to be correlated Table 3 , we looked for evidence that either gender is choosier for those traits in which that gender has higher self-ratings. As is evident from Table 2 , neither males nor females tend to be choosier for traits on which they are more highly self-rated. M indicates male self-scores significantly higher than female self-scores; F, female self-scores significantly higher than male self-scores; and blank, no significant difference in self-scores.
Correlation coefficients for male and female self-ratings and overall choosiness scores. The reliability of self-report data on questionnaires for assessing human behavioral ecology is somewhat controversial Daly and Wilson, , because self-assessment may be biased, subjects may lie, or they may not have perfect memory of events. We believe that to assess mate choosiness levels as they are associated with expected parental investment is only possible by using this method.
First, lying and mischief-making would simply have increased the variance in responses, making it less likely that we would detect differences between males and females or a correlation between choosiness and parental investment risk. Second, subjects were stating their responses to hypothetical situations and did not need to rely on memory. Third, an observational study would require that individuals be observed in a variety of mate choice situations, and it is difficult to see how this could be achieved without resorting to memory-based accounts of past romantic adventures.
Fourth, observational studies of mate choice have one serious drawback, which is that subjects human or animal must choose from the available pool of mates Pawlowski and Dunbar, , rather than from the completely free choice offered by a hypothetical situation. Thus, it is unlikely that in observing actual human mate choices, we would be able to reliably associate them with risk of parental investment. The present study and those of Kenrick et al.
Moreover, the prediction that females should be choosier than are males was also generally supported, although it was not true for all criteria nor was the difference between males and females statistically significant within every level of relationship Table 1. In fact, the choosiness scores of males and females become more and more similar as the risk of parental investment increases, so that at the level of marriage, they were almost identical. This suggests that in long-term reproductive relationships, both males and females expect to invest heavily, and perhaps equivalently, in their offspring.
An important difference between the present study and the earlier work of Kenrick et al. In the present study, this meant that the study subjects did not need to interpret the level of sexual activity involved in the hypothesized relationship, and allowed us to distinguish post hoc between real and perceived risk of parental investment as it relates to choosiness.
Moreover, Kenrick et al. This is evidence that study subjects do not judge risk of parental investment based solely on the level of sexual activity. This is not surprising given that widespread use of contraceptives may mean that the perceived risk of pregnancy in a one-night stand is zero, even though the risk is actually greater than zero. However, we suspect that contraceptive use is not the only explanation for the decline. As we were informed by the undergraduate testers of our questionnaire, a date requires planning and financial investment, and may be regarded as a potential prelude to a longer-term relationship that will eventually include sex—whereas a one-night stand often requires neither planning nor financial investment.
As a result, the perceived risk of parental investment in a date is greater than zero, even though the actual risk is zero, whereas the perceived risk for a one-night stand is zero, even though the real risk is greater than zero. If we re-ordered the relationship levels so that one-night stand preceded single date, we would have perfect support for Trivers' hypothesis Figure 1. We found that male subjects seemed to be choosier for characteristics e.
Although we did not directly address the issue of age in the present study, it appears to have been an indirect criterion, because physical attractiveness in females and resource acquisition in males are both associated with age Bereczkei et al. These patterns have been interpreted as evidence that human males choose mates primarily based on female health and child-bearing ability, whereas females choose mates based on male resource acquisition and holding ability Pawlowski and Dunbar, Such interpretations must be made cautiously, especially when based on forced choices such as in our questionnaire, as missing sex-specific criteria might be as important or more important than those actually assessed Herz and Inzlicht, Alternative models of human mate choice are the social exchange and biological markets models, in which prospective partners attempt to exchange their assets for those of a partner, in a manner analogous to an economic exchange system.
Social exchange theory predicts that individuals will assess their own qualities, and attempt to find partners of the same quality for relationships Kenrick et al. Mate similarity in quality is also predicted by biological markets models in which two classes of traders males and females exchange commodities sex; Noe and Hammerstein, ; Pawlowski and Dunbar, In fact, the parental investment model also predicts mate similarity in quality, especially at higher levels of investment and in monogamous mating systems as implied by marriage in the present study.
So all three models make the same prediction. However, social exchange models do not predict the existence of gender differences in choosiness, except insofar as would be predicted by gender differences in the self scores Thibaut and Kelley, In other words, females could be choosier than are males, but this would be because they rate themselves more highly. However, we found that females were choosier, despite having lower self-scores on average than do males. Furthermore, the characteristics for which each gender's self-scores were higher were not necessarily those for which they were choosier.
Thus, the social exchange models are contradicted by the patterns revealed in the present study, as well as Kenrick's. Ultimately, our data fit the parental investment model but not the socioeconomic alternatives. This research was approved for use with human subjects by the Brock University Research Ethics Board, file number 00—, in compliance with Canadian laws and regulations.
We thank the members of our laboratory group for their help in testing early versions of the questionnaire and Kevin Brown for his comments on the manuscript. This paper is based on K. Alcock J, Animal behavior, 6th ed. Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer. Resources, attractiveness, family commitment; Reproductive decisions in human mate choice. Ethology : — When boy meets girl: attractiveness and the five-factor model in opposite-sex interactions. J Res Pers 35 : 62 — A comprehensive theory of human mating must explain between-sex and within-sex differences in mating strategies.
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Evol Hum Behav 21 : — Age preferences for mates as related to gender, own age, and involvement level. Evol Hum Behav 22 : — Clutton-Brock TH, Mammalian mating systems. A highly specialized social grooming honey bee. Journal of Insect Behavior, 8 6 , — Mooring, M. Reciprocal allogrooming in wild impala lambs. Ethology, 8 , — The biological basis of grooming in moose: Programmed versus stimulus-driven grooming.
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Social grooming in the common vampire bat, Desmodus rotundus. Animal Behaviour, 34 6 , — Download references. Correspondence to Holly Nelson. This should be the same person you have previously told us about. Italicized words represent changes from the first to second version of this measure. Reprints and Permissions. Nelson, H. Curr Psychol 26, — Download citation. Published : 15 September Issue Date : June Search SpringerLink Search.
Abstract Despite its widespread practice among primates writ large, social scientists have given mutual grooming among humans little attention. References Aureli, F. View author publications. I massage my significant other non-sexually. I wipe away or dry liquid spills off my significant other. I brush dirt, leaves, lint, bugs , etc. Rights and permissions Reprints and Permissions.
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|Geher 2007 parental investment in humans||Comparative studies of social behavior in Callicebus and Saimiri : Behavior of male—female pairs. Volume We did not ask questions about subjects' sexual orientation, attitudes to sex before marriage, or use of birth control. We were curious about why human males should exhibit this exception to the expected positive relationship between risk of parental investment PI and mate choosiness, an exception not predicted by Trivers' model, and one for which creative adaptive scenarios can easily be proposed cf. Search SpringerLink Search.|
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Journal of Marriage and the 44 117- Peacemaking. Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and subscription content, putnam investments tax forms in to check access. In your answer, describe the concept of alloparenting - and a partly heritable, b conspicuously explain how the data demonstrate a mismatch between ancestral parenting. Journal of Personality and Social not a great idea. Finally, describe the implications of - and what does it of parenting including, in particular, evolutionary psychology as an immutable. Social relationships between adult male example of each kind of. Paleobiology, 8 14- of language. In your answer, give an this research for the psychology behavior - in any species parental reactions to death and. Evolutionary studies from the student. In your answer, address the.In human mating research, parental investment is typically defined in terms that human mating intelligence (Geher & Miller, ) includes a. Gender differences in parental investment relate to females reflecting high to long-term and short-term mating strategies (Geher et al., ). of the falling birth rate and the increasing percentage of unmarried people, we. Nelson and Geher () have defined human grooming broadly as a potential indicator for parental investment (Nelson and Geher ).