P S Y C H 3 A C 3 : H u m a n S e x u a l i t y - P a g e | 1
Thursday, January 17th, 2013
o Preferences survive if they boost our reproductive success
o Genes are being passed to vessels (babies), if you do things to choose mates, they will pass down
o Parental Investment Theory: the gender that invests more initially into the offspring must invest more
and have the highest quality mate:
Eggs are very expensive: we have about 400 from birth to death. Each egg is limited and each
egg stops you from reproducing for 9 months & takes energy for the mother to take care of it,
keep it healthy. Once the egg is fertilized the fetus takes a lot of your energy, you must go
through labour which is potentially dangerous then there are many expenses after birth. This is
why you want to invest your time and energy for a HIGH quality baby.
Sperm is cheap: you make 12 million sperm per hour; you can have as many babies as however
many times you have sex. You can leave after sex and not care for the baby.
Therefore: CHOOSINESS (females) vs. Opportunism (male)
Choosiness - females look for many things before having sex; Opportunism - men look for any
opportunity to have sex.
Men will be choosey when choosing a long-term mate
NOTE: Birth control is a new concept that has only had enough time to change preferences, NOT
Women Long-Term Mate Preferences
Monday, January 21st, 2013
o From the evolutionary perspective, women want A LOT of things, however everything they want leads
to reproductive success
o Women's Long Term Mating Puzzles:
1. Resources - "Rich Men": a male with resources would have been powerful and strong to gain
the resources. It also shows that they can invest in the offspring and mother to help them out.
2. Character - "Nice Guy": The male needs to be willing to invest in the offspring. He needs to love
you and want children.
3. Physical Protection - "Strong, Athletic, Brave Guy": This mate will protect them from harmful
men and other harms.
4. Health - "Attractive, Masculine Guy": This indicates good genes, so he will not die early or pass
down bad genes to your offspring
** These are all preferences, it does not mean women will get all four of these, hence why
compromises are made** P S Y C H 3 A C 3 : H u m a n S e x u a l i t y - P a g e | 2
o Resources feed you, your offspring's and shelters both of
you e.g. Birds build shinny, pretty nests to attract females
o Catch: He might not spend the resources on you, so you
need to judge if he will spend the resources on you through
o Women prefer/notice men with resources e.g. Resources are more
important than attractiveness
o Kenrick (1990): Minimum Acceptable Earning Capacity - Men don't really
care about earning capacity, but the average women wants a man with
70% earning capacity for marriage
o Buss (1989): Importance of Economic Resources in Potential Marriage
Partners - there is a significant gender difference in all the cultures,
women were all above the average
o Buss (1989): Importance of Social Status in Potential Marriage
Partners - there was a significant difference between the sexes in all
cultures, women wanted their partners to have a much higher social
o Buss (1989): Age Preferences In L-T Maters - women prefer men that
are older than them because it shows them if they are established
and will show what they will be able to provide in the future. Age gives a good glimpse of what is going
Effects of Social Economic Status (SES) on Partner Selection:
o Townsend & Levy (1990) - SES predicts women's, but not men's
willingness to engage in various degrees of intimacy with a
o Study: Judges first judged males and females on how attractive
there were: low, medium, high. Subjects then came in and rater
the males or females (opposite to their own sex) with a
statement that suggested their social-economic status. e.g.
Training to be a doctor and will make 80K OR training to be a
waiter will make 20K. Subjects rated from 0 --> 4 to how willing
they would be to engage in certain behaviour. Zero being agreed, 4 being disagreed. The scenarios were
things like: cup of coffee, out on a date, serious relationship leading to marriage.
Results: Women were far more likely to do serious things with higher social economic status and
looked over the attractiveness of the men. Men didn't really care about SES, but cared about
o Another experience that manipulated what the person was wearing:
High - designer suit, jacket slung over shoulder with Rolex watch showing.
Medium - nice shirt, nice pants
Low - burger king outfit P S Y C H 3 A C 3 : H u m a n S e x u a l i t y - P a g e | 3
Results: Women were always more willing to go out with the high guy, than the low guy. They
sometimes would go with the medium guy because he might become rich. When this study was
done for females, men did not care about the dressing; they just wanted the more attractive
o Attentional Bias: We pay attention to certain things that are passed down (adaptive) e.g. Snakes are
dangerous, flowers are not
Study: Showed women 12 men (6 were badly dressed, 6 were well dressed). Women's eyes
went straight to the well dressed suited men and skipped over the badly dressed men. After
they told the researchers that they thought that 60% of the men were wearing suits, when in
reality only 50% were wearing suits. This shows that there is an attention bias towards well
dressed men, and they are more noticed by women.
Men Know that Women Notice SES:
o The "Show-Off-Effect": men should try and show off their resources if they know that women notice this
effect e.g. Buy a BMW instead of a Civic
o Study: Brought males & females to a lab where they did an economic game on the computer and could
win money. At the end of the game it would ask if they would like to donate any percent of their
winnings to charity. The observer was either male or female.
Hypothesis - if the male participant had a female
observer, he should give away more money to charity.
IV: Observer - Same-sex, Different-sex, None
DV: % given to charity
Results: women stayed constant they donated about
45%. Men who were being observed by women gave
significantly more money.
The study then asked the men how attractive they thought they were. The men that though
they were "attractive" gave about an average of 55% of their money to charity. The men who
thought they were average/unattractive gave an average of 70% of their earnings to charity.
SIGNIFICANT DIFFERNCE! This shows that men show off and may fake what they have to try and
compensate for their unattractiveness. Women do not engage in this behaviour.
o Women prefer to mate with men who have resources
o Women notice men who have resources:
o Men KNOW that women want them to have resources
"Show-Off" Effect P S Y C H 3 A C 3 : H u m a n S e x u a l i t y - P a g e | 4
Women LT Mate Preferences: Physique & Attractiveness
Monday, January 28th, 2013
o Women assess this because if he is big & strong he can protect that family and gather resources e.g.
o In animals, the male gladiator frog is supposed to build a mates nest and protect the nest. The female
frog firmly leaps on him and if he doesn't budge then he's strong and she will mate with him, ig he runs
away or falls over then she won't mate with him.
o Height: If he is tall, he has an imposing, dominant marker.
Buss & Schmitt (1993): They surveyed women and found that short men are undesirable for
short and long term relationships to women
Cameron et al. (1978): They looked at personal ads of women's and noticed that IF a women
mentioned height they wanted 6ft or taller. Also, taller men got called up more frequently if
their height was mentioned.
o Muscles: If he's muscular it indicates that he is strong
Dixon et al. (2003): They did a study in Britain & SL and muscled lean men were preferred
Gregor (1985): In a certain tribe, maters are chosen through wrestling competitions. No one
wants the "loser" as the husband.
Hughes & Gallup (2003): Found that women preferred a V-shaped torso (big broad tapering
chest and a tailored waist e.g. Superman). A powerfully build person can take care of himself
and his family.
o If you are big & strong but clumsy, you cannot provide resources. You need to be able to use your
muscular body to gain resources.
o Albrecht et al. (2008): presented scenarios to females of males that were in clubs and how good they
IV: Participation in sport - Individual Sport (tennis), Team Sport (hockey), Non-Sport Club
IV: Athletic Status - High vs. Low
DV: How willing are you to: One date, ST, LT
One Date & ST: All the differences were
significant - Team sport was highly preferred
Long Term: Team and Individual sports were
both preferred, however no sport was
High Status vs. Low Status - High status was
Team sport is preferred because it shows good
social skills and shows that, that individual can get along with others easily P S Y C H 3 A C 3 : H u m a n S e x u a l i t y - P a g e | 5
Women LT Mate Preferences: Health
o You want a mate that can give you excellent genes, this often has to do with facial attraction
o Risks of choosing an unhealthy mate?
He can make you sick, can die and leave you, your offspring can die, unhealthy genes might be
Buss (1990) - Health is indispensible; on a scale of 0-3, women voted 2.5 for importance in
o How to avoid an unhealthy mate?
Take a good look.
Possession of a costly trait e.g. Peacocks that have a huge tail attract more predators and are
slower at running away from them. It is a handicap and costly to make and have. However this is
attractive to a female because it shows them that even with a higher risk of "dying" this male is
still alive and healthy.
o What does facial masculinity look like?
Smaller, more close-set eyes, larger nose, square face.
You need more testosterone to make a manly face. Testosterone affects immunity so if these
men are surviving they MUST be healthy - COSTLY TRAIT
Research on Masculinity:
o Masculinity & Health:
Johnston et al. (2001) - showed females faces of different versions of masculinity faces and told
them to choose the healthiest face. The females chose the most masculine one.
Thornhill & Gangestad (2006) - Gathered data on university men and looked at masculine face
and saw how often they reported illness. The more masculine faces were sick less often.
o Do women prefer masculine men? ---> NOT always
Johnston et al. (2001) - With masculine faces he asked "Who is the person you would want a
long-term relationship with?" - They preferred the more masculine faces, however the
correlation was weak
Feinberg Lab - When women are ovulating they prefer masculine faces, and when they are not
ovulating they prefer feminine faces. Masculine men provide great genes, so when you want to
get pregnant you want him to fertilize your egg. Feminine men will stick around LT, be good
dads and more faithful so, on a regular basis you want them.
Face & Body Symmetry:
o We find people with higher symmetry more attractive than people with lower symmetry. The more
someone deviates from symmetry, the more they might have bad genes e.g. Peacocks with more
symmetrical spots indicate higher health and more ideal mates.
o Symmetry indicates that the person had the ability to fight off asymmetrical things = Good genes
o Shackeford & Larsen (1997) - People who are symmetrical were health in-terms of physical and mental
health P S Y C H 3 A C 3 : H u m a n S e x u a l i t y - P a g e | 6
o Thornhill & Gangestad (2006) - People who were more symmetrical paid fewer visits to the doctor and
overall were healthier.
o Little et al. (2008) - Collected data on how symmetry affects peoples perspective of how sex-typical
there were - study found that people thought the more symmetrical men were more sexually typical
and more masculine
o Women prefer LT maters who signal: ability to physically protect her and her offspring & healthy men
o BUT: they will trade off this preference for: Resources & Commitment
o THEREFORE: Women's preferences for these traits is stronger for ST than for LT mating
Women LT Mate Preferences: Character
Thursday, January 31st, 2013
o Gauging resources and looks is relatively easy, judging "character" is not so easy
Will he commit?
Will he invest in offspring?
Will he be a good father? Will he love your baby?
Is he compatible? (Will he be a good LT mate?)
Willingness to Commit:
o Love: committing time, energy, emotions, resources
o Love as an evolved psychological mechanism:
Love is old - it has existed for a long time
Love is universal - it exists across most cultures
Love is important - Buss (1989): found that our of 18 characteristics in a potential mate, love
was the most important trait for both sexes (though for different reasons)
Why would love evolve? If women picked men who love them, their children were more
successful than children of parents who didn't love each other. Then the traits would be passed
along and children would survive more.
What is Love?
o Buss (2006) - Did a study that tested behaviours women view as acts of love.
Women’s main definition: commitment – a channeling of time, energy, resources and effort to
the partner’s need at the expense of fulfilling one’s own personal goals
Giving more to the person than to yourself – indicates love
Main definition of “love”: acts of commitment
Exclusivity (“I just want to be with you”) – giving up more sex partners, more possible
mates (ST or LT)
Talk of marriage – formalizing the relationship
Sharing resources – gifts, rings - women view the quality of engagement ring as a
commitment/expression of the man’s love P S Y C H 3 A C 3 : H u m a n S e x u a l i t y - P a g e | 7
Expressing desire for children (genetic commitment)
Emotional support: Committing financial, emotional, sexual, genetic, etc resources to the
Willingness to Invest In Children:
o The problem of men’s low vs. women’s high initial parental investment – just by the nature of women’s
o How do women solve this problem?
Brase (2006) - Effects of Interaction Type of Attractiveness Ratings
1800 subjects, male & females - average 25 years old
IV: Male with positive interaction with baby vs. negative interaction
with baby vs. neutral interaction
DV: Ratings of women's willingness to: date, sex, marry
Results: For all three DV's there was a significantly higher response
for men who had a positive interaction, and a very low response to
men who had a negative interaction. Therefore men who have a
positive interaction with a baby make them more attractive for anything.
Results for Men on same study: Nothing in this study was significantly different. There
data was a huge mess indicating that men have conflicting thoughts in their mind. E.g. It
is someone else's baby. Also, it is not important for females to like the baby because
they have to raise it either way.
Recognizing Men Who Like Babies:
o Can women detect men's feelings about babies?
o Step 1: Interest in Infant's Test - scores were associated with how much time men spend with babies &
how much they like babies (self-test)
o Step 2: Took neutral photographs of men
o Step 3: Photographs were then shown to women; women rated photographs of subjects
Results: Women were very accurate in their ratings of which of these men liked babies. They
could actually tell from looking at a neutral, posed photograph. They also rated the men who
liked babies are more attractive for LT relationships. This indicates that women who find that
men like babies are more likely to be good LT partners.
Interestingly, testosterone levels were not correlated with men's interest in babies. Men with
high testosterone levels had an attractiveness boost for ST mating, not LT.
o Opposites DO NOT attract
o Successful mating requires that you get along with your partners - sustained alliance, cooperation.
o Similarity predicts: emotional bonding, cooperation & agreement. Important matching values: political
orientation, intelligence, religiosity, personality traits, etc
o Buss: if parents are homogenous, it may actually increase survival, happiness and health of offspring
o Growing similar with time? It is likely that you grow more similar, but you still need a basic level of
similarity P S Y C H 3 A C 3 : H u m a n S e x u a l i t y - P a g e | 8
Women LT Mate Preferences: Contextual Effects
Monday, February 4th, 2013
Do Mating Preferences Change Across Contexts?
1. Women want men to have resources because they can't get resources themselves.
2. What do women really want in a LT mate - what is most important?
3. Someone's on mate value - who trades off?
o Women have been excluded from power, status & resources because of the culture, so to get these
things they need to marry someone with these qualities.
o What if the female has resources and has a high social status, will they care for men with resources?
What do successful women want?
o Buss (1989) - recruited financially successful & unsuccessful women and asked them about mating
preferences. Financially successful women play a lot of preference on high status, independent,
confident & tall men. The higher salary the women were earning, the higher he has to make.
o Winderman & Allgeier (1992) - asked women what they'd expect they will be earning & what they
wanted a LT mate to earn. They found that the more money they expected to earn, the more money
they wanted the males to earn.
o Gill-Burmann et al. (2002) - Looked at personal ads in Spain; the wealthier women were more likely to
specify resources and social status in their ad
o Khallad (2005) - in Jordan he found out that the wealthier women placed more importance on their
mate having a university degree and ambition
o Ardener et al. (1960) - Bakweri women were making a lot more financially and were scare (236 males:
100 women). Men are now desperate, and females are being choosy. Females choose the most
resourceful men, woman complained that the men weren't resourceful enough and divorced them for
more rich men.
2. Women's ST vs. LT Preferences
o Attractiveness seems to be the trade-off for other things
3. Effects of Own Mate Value
o What is a high mate-value woman? e.g. Angelina Jolie
o A high-mate value women can be choosy and find the "perfect
mate" and keep him in line (with her)
o High attractive women prefer more masculine men and want
o Women must successfully solve several puzzles in choosing their mate: Resources? Willing to use
resources on her? Protect her & baby? Will he be a good LT mate? Are his genes adequate?
o The way they solve these puzzles depends to some extent on their personal context: own resources &
mate value P S Y C H 3 A C 3 : H u m a n S e x u a l i t y - P a g e | 9
Men's LT Mate Preferences: Youth
Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
o Men wouldn't commit unless it affect reproductive success
o Benefits of committing?
Better quality mates
Offspring's likelihood of surviving will increase
More likely that the mates offspring is yours - Paternity certainty
Coalition Building: more people on your side and supporting you (mate's family)
o To whom should men commit?
1. Someone who can reproduce healthy babies. Cues - Youth & Attractiveness
2. Paternity Certainty - Faithful person so you don't invest in someone else's baby.
o Men's Problem: Females have hidden ovulation signs (unlike baboons). So the male never really know
when it is her peak time to get pregnant. They need to ensure that their partner will not be sexually
disloyal (especially while ovulating) hence why they get the trait: jealousy. Men also look for "character"
that cue sexual fidelity.
Reproductive Fitness: Youth
o Men's reproductive success depends on women's ability to reproduce
o Youth is a cue of reproductive fitness:
Reproductive Value: an index of a women's ability to reproduce from their current age &
onwards. This is a QUALITY only factor. Women tend to hit their peak at late teens, and it goes
exponentially lower after their "peak" age.
Fertility: This is about QUANTITY & QUALITY. This is the actual reproductive performance right
now and how many healthy babies the female can make. Women's peak fertility
Therefore men should prefer women from late teens to mid 20's
o Napoleon - Asked Yanomamo Indians what the men preferred. They wanted a woman that is ready to
have babies, but hasn't had any yet. They wanted someone to have successful babies.
o Buss - He studied 37 cultures and asked about age preferences. Men prefer younger women in ALL
cultures. There are some cross-cultural differences; this might be because men in developing countries
may need to take longer to get resources so they prefer younger women at an older
age. This difference might also be present because the developing world usually wants
more kids, so they need younger women to make more babies.
o Kenrick & Keefe (1992) - Looked at personal ads of their age preferences: oldest &
youngest acceptable age. He found that: the older the men get, the younger they
want their women to be relative to them
o BUT: Why don't older men go for 25 year olds? Daly & Wilson (1989) - found that the
larger the age gap between couples, the more domestic violence occurred. This is why
men look for relative youth rather than absolute youth P S Y C H 3 A C 3 : H u m a n S e x u a l i t y - P a g e | 10
Is Younger Always Better?
o Feminist Perspective: Younger is better because men can control younger women - Control Hypothesis
To prove this perspective, teenagers should also want younger women. Kenrick recruited 12-18
year old boys and asked: what is the ideal age of a woman you'd like to date, what's the
minimum/maximum age. The results were that 12 & 14 year old boys wanted someone who was
16, and the 16 year olds wanted someone who was 21. Hence, proving that they don't always
want younger women, they wanted women close to the peak reproducing age.
o Men prefer to mate with younger women, UNLESS these younger women are not yet reproductively fit
o The older men are, the younger (relatively speaking) they want their mates to be - thus keeping mates
as close to peak reproductive fitness as possible
Men's LT Mate Preferences: Attractiveness
Thursday, February 7th, 2013
o Men's adaptive problem --> they need to choose someone that is reproductively fit
o Youth cues potential ability to bear many children, but it's not narrow enough. E.g. a 23 year old can be
o Attractiveness cues actual ability to bear many children. This is because attractiveness relates to fertility
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