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Evolution- women's LT preferences.docx

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Jennifer Ostovich

Evolution • Evolutionary explanations of human mate choice and sexuality Background • Preferences survive if they optimize reproductive success • “selfish genes”= reproductive success= as many copies of your genes as possible, have high quality babies, so you are someone’s ancestor Parental Investment Theory (Trivers, 1972) • Gender differences • Across genders, 1 parent invests more into an offspring than the other which is usually the female • Cause: because of the egg. Sperm is mobile= 12 mill/hour, cheap • Women’s investment is very high, egg is very nutritious, does not leave body and very risky • Women have about 400 ova • Chances of women getting pregnant are only few days/month • Quality decreases with age for both and women- can result in mental disorders • Baby- parasite, birth- nurturing, lactate • Women- initial investment is very high, so babies can’t have babies • Choosiness vs. opportunism (women look for certain characteristics and high quality, men look for opportunity, freedom, low initial investment) • Single- parent families- low quality offspring • Also in poor places, high mortality rates than richer places • Caveat: Long term vs short term mating • When men choose long term, give resources choosing to invest energy, high quality • When men/women choose, they choose different things Birth control • Only a split sex of history • From an evolutionary point of view, this won’t matter because its hardwire in our brains, still choosing matesless promiscuous • Women who use BC are not very attractive Women’s Long Term Mate Preferences • Puzzles • Resources (money)- ability to invest, nurture, feeding, providing • Character-willingness to invest • Physical protection- strength, bravery, size, athleticism • Health- attractive, masculine, not sick • But- depends on availability and on you Resources • Need to have resources • Why resources? Not greedy, feed offspring and females • The Catch? Willingness to invest (character) Minimum Acceptable Earning Capacity (Kenrick, 1990) • Men don’t really care- all below 50% • Women- 70% percentile for marriage- more than ave (dating Individual> no sport • Evolutionary: cooperation with others 1. Hunter gathers team 2. Right type of personality Summary- Physique • Big, strong, athletic mean are to protect their mate, protect their offspring • But!!!! COULD BE JERKS Women’s Long Term Mate Preferences- Health • Risk of choosing an unhealthy mate? • Die early • Low quality offspring • Hard to find mate • Can protect • Can make you/kids sick • Health is indispensable (Buss, 1990)- 2.5 for women, 2.6 for men (out of 3) How to Avoid an Unhealthy Mate? Handicap Hypothesis (Zahavi, 1975) • Use of costly signals • i.e. peacocks- huge tail with colours- cannot run from predators • mating advantage- biggest, beautiful attractive to women, if you have a trait that makes you hard to survive then you are actually are a good mate Hamilton and Zuk (1982) • brightest feathers- no parasites • dull feathers- lots of parasites Human Males Costly Signals? What does facial masculinity look like? • Closer eyes, bigger nose, pronounced cheekbones, defined jaws Why is facial masculinity a costly signal? • Testosterone is an immunosuppressant, so if you’re masculine and healthy than you have a really good immune system • Less healthy- low testosterone, feminine looking • In order to produce masculinity, you are vulnerable to diseases • If immune system is not good= testosterone makes you sick Why should women prefer masculine men? – Resources – Health – Gene quality Research on Masculinity • Masculinity= high health • Johnston et al, 2001, on masculinity and perception of health -women pick out men masculine and healthy • Thornhill and Gangestad, 2006, on masculinity and actual health -more masculine= high health, less doctor visits Do Women Prefer Masculine Men? • Johnson et al (2001)- yes but small preference • Feinberg Lab -Menstrual cycle- important -“Luteal face”- find yourself a nice kind mate -when women ovulate- prefer masculine -masculine=less likely to stick around so worse long term mates -feminine= better, warmer parent- adaptive advantage Face and Body Symmetry • “what is attractive is adaptive” • Women find masculine men sexy but bit fir long term mates • High quality women select high quality men (masculine) and can control them • Women more likely to cheat with masculine men • We find people higher in symmetry more attractive than people in lower symmetry • Why? As we grow up, we encounter different threats, some of us are better at coping with this than others better at coping with this • Therefore, symmetry is a signal of health • Gene quality- women want best gene quality because of initial investment • ***But! Resources/love/commitment are more important for women than symmetry though***- women willing to trade off looks • Sex typicality - if you’re symmetrical, you’re more feminine/masculine Symmetry and Health • Research evidence • Shackelford and Larsen (1997) -questionnaire, males who are symmetrical are very healthy • Thornhill and Gangestad (2006) -looked at health records -symmetrical, health record better Symmetry and Sex Typicality (little et al, 2008) • 15 most symmetrical and 15 most asymmetrical pictures • Asked subjects to choose most symmetrical and most asymmetrical • Pick face of most typical symmetrical masculinity healthy • Also same for women • Subjects choose the symmetrical faces more often Women’s Long Term Mate Preferences- Character • Gauging resources and looks is relatively easy • Gauging “character” is not so easy - will he commit - will he invest - will he be a g
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