6 minute read

Mate Selection

Conclusion

Individual psychological factors that influence mate choice must play out in the context of dyadic interaction, and those dyadic interactions unfold within a broader cultural context. The variations across individuals, dyads, and cultures are in turn affected by the preferences and proclivities inherited from ancestral humans, shaped by ecological forces common to all members of this particular species of social mammal. Thus, mate selection can be understood at several different, yet inter-connected, levels of analysis.

The broader ecological factors discussed earlier provide a good example. Cultural variations in mate choice are not completely random, but often fit with general principles applicable to many animal species (Crook and Crook 1988; Daly and Wilson 1983). For example, polyandry is more common when the males are brothers in humans and other animals, in keeping with the general principle of inclusive fitness. Polygyny is more common than polyandry in humans and other mammals, as is the female preference for high status males, consistent with principles of differential parental investment (female mammals have less to gain from taking additional mates, so will demand more in a mate). Mate selection thus offers insight into fundamental questions about human nature and its interaction with human culture.


Bibliography

Allen, J.; Kenrick, D. T.; Linder, D. E.; and McCall, M. A. (1989). "Arousal and Attraction: A Response Facilitation Alternative to Misattribution and Negative Reinforcement Models." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 57:261–270.

Anderson, J. L.; Crawford, C. B.; Nadeau, J.; and Lindberg, T. (1992). "Was the Duchess of Windsor Right? A Cross-Cultural Review of the Sociobiology of Ideals of Female Body Shape." Ethology and Sociobiology 13:197–227.

Berscheid, E., and Walster, E. (1974). "A Little Bit About Love." In Foundations of Interpersonal Attraction, ed. T. Huston. New York: Academic Press.

Botwin, M.; Buss, D. M.; and Shackelford, T. K. (1997). "Personality and Mate Preferences: Five Factors in Mate Selection and Marital Satisfaction." Journal of Personality 65:107–136.

Broude, G. J. (1994). Marriage, Family, and Relationships: A Cross Cultural Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Buss, D. M. (1985). "Human Mate Selection." American Scientist 73(1):47–51.

Buss, D. M. (1989). "Sex Differences in Human Mate Preferences: Evolutionary Hypotheses Tested in 37 Cultures." Behavioral and Brain Sciences 12(1):1–49.

Buss, D. M. (1999). Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Buss, D. M., and Barnes, M. (1986). "Preferences in Human Mate Selection." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 50(3):559–570.

Buss, D. M.; Shackelford, T. K.; Kirkpatrick, L. A.; and Larsen, R. J. (2001). "A Half Century of Mate Preferences: The Cultural Evolution of Values." Journal of Marriage and the Family 63(2):491–503.

Byrne, D. (1971). The Attraction Paradigm. New York: Academic Press.

Byrne, D., and Clore, G. L. (1970). "A Reinforcement Model of Evaluative Responses." Personality 1:103–128.

Cate, R. M.; Huston, T. L.; and Nesselroade, J. R. (1986). "Premarital Relationships: Toward the Identification of Alternative Pathways to Marriage." Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 4:3–22.

Crook, J. H., and Crook, S. J. (1988). "Tibetan Polyandry: Problems of Adaptation and Fitness." In Human Reproductive Behaviour, ed. L. Betzig, M. Borgerhoff-Mulder, and P. Turke. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Cunningham, M. R.; Druen, P. B.; and Barbee, A. P. (1997). "Angels, Mentors, and Friends: Tradeoffs among Evolutionary, Social, and Individual Variables in Physical Appearance." In Evolutionary Social Psychology, ed. J. Simpson and D. T. Kenrick. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Daly, M., and Wilson, M. (1983). Sex, Evolution and Behavior, 2nd edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Dutton, D. G., and Aron, A. P. (1974). "Some Evidence for Heightened Sexual Attraction under Conditions of High Anxiety." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 30(4):510–517.

Eagly, A. H., and Wood, W. (1999). "The Origins of Sex Differences in Human Behavior: Evolved Predispositions versus Social Roles." American Psychologist 54:408–423.

Ford, C. S., and Beach, F. A. (1951). Patterns of Sexual Behavior. New York: Harper.

Gangestad, S. W.; Thornhill, R.; and Yeo, R. A. (1994). "Facial Attractiveness, Developmental Stability, and Fluctuating Asymmetry." Ethology and Sociobiology 15(2):73–85.

Geary, D. C. (2000). "Evolution and Proximate Expression of Human Paternal Investment." Psychological Bulletin 126(1):55–77.

Green, B. L., and Kenrick, D. T. (1994). "The Attractiveness of Gender-Typed Traits at Different Relationship Levels: Androgynous Characteristics May Be Desirable after All." Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 20(3):244–253.

Guttentag, M., and Secord, P. F. (1983). Too Many Women: The Sex Ratio Question. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.

Harpending, H. (1992). "Age Differences between Mates in Southern African Pastoralists." Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15:102–103.

Hatfield, E., and Rapson, R. L. (1996). Love and Sex: Cross- Cultural Perspectives. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Hatfield, E.; Traupmann, J.; Sprecher, S.; Utne, M.; and Hay, J. (1985). "Equity and Intimate Relationships: Recent Research." In Compatible and Incompatible Relationships, ed. W. Ickes. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Jensen-Campbell, L. A.; Graziano, W. G.; and West, S. G. (1995). "Dominance, Prosocial Orientation, and Female Preferences: Do Nice Guys Really Finish Last?" Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 68:427–440.

Keller, M. C.; Thiessen, D.; and Young, R. K. (1996). "Mate Assortment in Dating and Married Couples." Personality and Individual Differences 21:217–221.

Kenrick, D. T., and Keefe, R. C. (1992). "Age Preferences in Mates Reflect Sex Differences in Human Reproductive Strategies." Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15(1):75–133.

Kenrick, D. T.; Gabrielidis, C.; Keefe, R. C.; and Cornelius, J. S. (1996). "Adolescents' Age Preferences for Dating Partners: Support for an Evolutionary Model of Life-History Strategies." Child Development 67(4):1499–1511.

Kenrick, D. T.; Sadalla, E. K.; Groth, G.; and Trost, M. R. (1990). "Evolution, Traits, and the Stages of Human Courtship: Qualifying the Parental Investment Model." Journal of Personality 58:97–117.

Murstein, B. (1970). "Stimulus-Value-Role: A Theory of Marital Choice." Journal of Marriage and the Family 32:465–481.

Otta, E.; da Silva Queiroz, R.; de Sousa Campos, L.; da Silva, M. W. D.; and Silveira, M. T. (1999). "Age Differences between Spouses in a Brazilian Marriage Sample." Evolution and Human Behavior 20(2):99–103.

Sadalla, E. K.; Kenrick, D. T.; and Vershure, B. (1987). "Dominance and Heterosexual Attraction." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 52(4):30–738.

Shepher, J. (1983). Incest: A Biosocial View. New York: Academic Press.

Simpson, J. A., and Gangestad, S. W. (1992). "Sociosexuality and Romantic Partner Choice." Journal of Personality 60(1):31–51.

Singh, D. (1995). "Female Judgment of Male Attractiveness and Desirability for Relationships: Role of Waist-to-Hip Ratio and Financial Status." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 69(6):1089–1101.

Taylor, P. A., and Glenn, N. D. (1976). "The Utility of Education and Attractiveness for Females' Status Attainment through Marriage." American Sociological Re-view 41:484–498.

Townsend, J. M. (1987). "Sex Differences in Sexuality Among Medical Students: Effects of Increasing Socioecomic Status." Archives of Sexual Behavior 16:427–446.

Townsend, J. M., and Wasserman, T. (1998). "Sexual Attractiveness: Sex Differences in Assessment and Criteria." Evolution and Human Behavior 14:171–191.

Trivers, R. (1972). "Parental Investment and Sexual Selection." In Sexual Selection and the Descent of Man, ed. B. Campbell. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

United Nations. (2000). World Marriage Patterns 2000. Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. DEV/2251, POP/771. New York: Author.

Walster, E., and Berscheid, E. (1971). "Adrenaline Makes the Heart Grow Fonder." Psychology Today 5(1):47–50, 62.

White, G. L., and Kight, T. D. (1984). "Misattribution of Arousal and Attraction: Effects of Salience of Explanations for Arousal." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 20(1):55–64.

Winch, R. F. (1955). "The Theory of Complementary Needs in Mate Selection: Final Results on the Test of the General Hypothesis." American Sociological Review 20:552–555.

DOUGLAS T. KENRICK

SUSAN LEDLOW

JOSH ACKERMAN

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaRelationshipsMate Selection - Factors Within The Individual, Factors In The Relationship, Sociocultural And Historical Factors, Evolutionary Factors