bims-chumac Biomed News
on Context effects on human mate choice
Issue of 2019‒12‒22
nine papers selected by
Jay Dixit
Storytelling.NYC


  1. J Pers. 2019 Dec 16.
    Hui CM, Lui KFH, Lai WY, Wong YK, Wong ACN.
      OBJECTIVE: In the mating market, individuals differ in their aspirations to pursue opposite-sex mates who have a relatively higher (vs. similar) level of physical attractiveness. Few studies have explored how motivational concerns outside the mating domain can account for these individual differences in romantic aspiration. Based on regulatory focus theory, this research tested how broad concerns for promotion and prevention influence the aspiration and dating outcome.METHOD: Four studies tested whether promotion concerns increase romantic aspiration and the chance to mate with a more physically attractive partner. The first three studies tested how promotion concerns, either measured (Studies 1a and 2) or manipulated (Study 1b), can influence romantic aspiration. Study 3 further tested how one's chronic promotion concerns are related to the physical attractiveness of the current partner (as rated by observers).
    RESULTS: The first three studies supported the prediction that promotion concerns increase aspiration to pursue more physically attractive mates. Study 3 also found that, controlling for their own physical attractiveness, individuals with stronger promotion concerns tend to mate with physically attractive partners.
    CONCLUSIONS: The results highlight the significant roles of broad motivational concerns in determining both aspiration and chance to date a more physically attractive partner.
    Keywords:  close relationships; mating behaviors; physical attractiveness; regulatory focus; relationship initiation
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12535
  2. Front Psychol. 2019 ;10 2627
    Bongard S, Schulz I, Studenroth KU, Frankenberg E.
      From an evolutionary perspective, musical behavior such as playing an instrument can be considered as part of an individual's courting behavior. Playing a musical instrument or singing might fulfill a function similar to that of a bird's colored feathers: attracting attention. Therefore, musicians may be rated as more attractive than non-musicians. In an online survey, 137 volunteers (95 female) with ages ranging from 16 to 39 years rated the attractiveness of fictitious persons of the opposite sex described in short verbal profiles. These profiles differed with respect to whether the described person made music or not. Additionally, the musicians' profiles varied with regard to whether the described person played music or sang in public or in private only. Results show that musicians' profiles were not generally rated as more attractive than non-musicians', but attractiveness did vary according to setting: private musicians were rated as most attractive, followed by non-musicians and public musicians. Furthermore, results indicate that participants who played a musical instrument or sang themselves gave higher ratings to profiles of musicians. But for participants who do not make music themselves, higher attractiveness ratings for musicians playing instruments or sing in private settings were found. These results indicate that the impression of sharing a common interest (making music) and furthermore making music in private instrumental settings seems to make people attractive to other people. No additional support for the sexual selection hypotheses for the evolution of music was provided by the current results. The musical status of the rater affected his or her judgements, with musicians rating other people as more attractive if they share the common interest in making music. Not the display of being a musician seems to be critical for attractiveness ratings but the perceived or imagined similarity by the rater created by information on musicality, fostering the theoretical significance of the communication aspect of music.
    Keywords:  attractiveness; courting behavior; evolution; music; musician
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02627
  3. Behav Sci (Basel). 2019 Dec 19. pii: E9. [Epub ahead of print]10(1):
    Labunskaya V.
      This study is aimed to scrutinize the relationship between satisfaction and concern with an individual's physical appearance and the subjective estimation of economic status, which is considered as one of main predictors of life satisfaction. Recent research has focused on the role of real economic status on different aspects of human life, including satisfaction and concern with own appearance. In contrast with such studies, our investigation is focused on a subjective-comparative approach to economic status evaluation. According to this approach, the participants have to identify themselves either with the group "rather poor than rich" or with the group "rather rich than poor". We hypothesize that satisfaction and concern with own appearance in youth varies as a factor of subjective evaluation of economic status. The participants were 41 male and 82 female undergraduate and graduate students of different majors, aged 20-35. Of the subjects, 62% estimated their economic status as "rather poor than rich" and 38% of participants identified themselves with the group "rather rich than poor". The paper-pencil questionnaires "Attitudes towards Own Appearance: Satisfaction and Concern" and "Subjective Evaluation of Economic Status" were administered. Results indicates that subjective evaluation of economic status has a stronger association with satisfaction with one's own physical appearance in comparison with concern over one's own appearance.
    Keywords:  appearance; concern and satisfaction with appearance; subjective evaluation of economic status
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/bs10010009
  4. J Soc Psychol. 2019 Dec 19. 1-13
    Parise M, Donato S, Pagani AF, Bertoni A, Iafrate R, Schoebi D.
      Perceived superiority, the tendency to regard one's own relationship as better than other people's relationships, is a key relationship maintenance mechanism. Little is known about whether and how it changes during the transition to marriage, a pivotal moment in most couples' life cycle. In a longitudinal study following 97 couples for three waves across the transition, men presented stable perceived superiority, whereas women presented a curvilinear change in superiority perceptions, with a substantial increase in perceived superiority between T1 and T2 and a significantly reduced change between T2 and T3. In addition, trajectories differed according to partners' commitment level. More committed and less committed partners both showed a curvilinear change in perceived superiority, though following different patterns. Results point to the functional value of perceived superiority, which emerges as a strategy aimed at sustaining partners through the challenges deriving from the transition to marriage.
    Keywords:  Perceived superiority; commitment; couple relationship; social comparison; trajectories
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/00224545.2019.1704542
  5. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2019 Dec 19.
    Boothroyd LG, Jucker JL, Thornborrow T, Barton RA, Burt DM, Evans EH, Jamieson MA, Tovée MJ.
      Perceptions of physical attractiveness vary across cultural groups, particularly for female body size and shape. It has been hypothesized that visual media propagates Western "thin ideals." However, because cross-cultural studies typically consider groups highly differentiated on a number of factors, identifying the causal factors has thus far been impossible. In the present research, we conducted "naturalistic" and controlled experiments to test the influence of media access on female body ideals in a remote region of Nicaragua by sampling from villages with and without regular TV access. We found that greater TV consumption remained a significant predictor of preferences for slimmer, curvier female figures after controlling for a range of other factors in an ethnically balanced sample of 299 individuals (150 female, aged 15-79) across 7 villages. Within-individual analyses in 1 village over 3 years also showed an association between increased TV consumption and preferences for slimmer figures among some participants. Finally, an experimental study in 2 low-media locations demonstrates that exposure to media images of fashion models can directly impact participants' body size ideals. We provide the first converging cross-sectional, longitudinal, and experimental evidence from field-based research, that media exposure can drive changes in perceptions of female attractiveness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000224
  6. Hum Fertil (Camb). 2019 Dec 18. 1-9
    Gith E, Bokek-Cohen Y.
      The objective of the project was to compare the importance of traits desired in a life partner to traits desired in a sperm donor. A survey was distributed via internet support groups to women undergoing donor insemination and the questionnaire consisted of 35 traits of a desired life partner and of a desired sperm donor. The respondents comprised 278 unmarried childless heterosexual women over 38 years old undergoing donor insemination treatments. The 35 traits of a desired life partner and a desired sperm donor were grouped by confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) into four factors: (i) personality; (ii) physical appearance; (iii) genes and health; and (iv) socio-economic status. Paired-sample t-tests showed that patients attached significantly greater importance to social status, personality, and physical appearance in a desired life partner than to those traits in a desired sperm donor. No differences were found regarding the genetic quality of the desired life partner versus the sperm donor. These findings contribute to the understanding of fertility patients' preferences in sperm donors.
    Keywords:  Donor insemination; genes; mate selection; parental investment theory; single women; sperm donor
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/14647273.2019.1700560
  7. BMC Womens Health. 2019 Dec 19. 19(1): 164
    Obst P, White K, Matthews E.
      BACKGROUND: Research indicates that young women are being exposed to increasing pressures to remove pubic hair from their bodies, which has the potential for both negative physical and psychological consequences. Women's personal choice and reasoning for partaking in pubic hair removal is influenced by broader social influences; however, there is little theory-based research drawing from established decision-making models investigating the underlying processes that lead young women to engage in pubic hair removal practices. Based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour, it was hypothesised that 1) attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioural control would predict intention to remove pubic hair; 2) additional variables (prototype similarity and favourability) from the Prototype Willingness Model would significantly predict intention to remove pubic hair; 3) feminist values would significantly predict decreased intention to remove pubic hair; and 4) intention and perceived behavioural control would predict future self-reported removal of pubic hair.METHOD: The current study included a sample of 270 young women (17-25 years old), who completed an online survey and a follow up survey 4 weeks later (N = 96).
    RESULTS: Attitudes, perceived behavioural control, and similarity to prototypical pubic hair removers were significant predictors of intention to remove pubic hair. Intention was significantly positively associated and feminist values were significantly negatively associated with actual pubic hair removal.
    CONCLUSIONS: These findings align with Theory of Planned Behaviour propositions. Furthermore, the expansion of the model highlights how broader social images impact on young women when deciding whether to engage in a behaviour that is intimately associated with their body image.
    Keywords:  Pubic hair removal; Theory of planned behaviour; Young women
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-019-0868-1
  8. Front Psychol. 2019 ;10 2645
    Jin H, Wang W, Lan X.
      Although prior research has considerably documented the prevalence and correlates of academic procrastination in college students, relatively little is known about the role of longer volitional processes of goal striving, such as grit, on academic procrastination; moreover, the knowledge about direct and interactive effects of social context and personal characteristic on facilitating grit, which in turn mitigate academic procrastination, are still underexplored. Given these gaps in the existing literature, the current study, more exploratory in nature, investigates a moderated mediation model of future time perspective and grit in the association between peer attachment and academic procrastination in Chinese college students. A total of 1,098 undergraduate students (43.2% girls) aged from 18 to 25 were involved in the current study, and participants were asked to fill in a battery of self-report questionnaires. Results indicated that (a) peer attachment was negatively and significantly associated with academic procrastination; (b) grit partially mediated the association between peer attachment and academic procrastination; more precisely, peer attachment was positively associated with grit, which in turn was negatively linked to academic procrastination; and (c) future time perspective moderated the association between peer attachment and grit; more specifically, for students with low levels of future time perspective, the association between peer attachment and grit turned out to be significantly negative. These findings suggest that interventions targeting the enhancement of peer attachment and grit may prevent or reduce academic procrastination, and college students who regard future orientation as pessimistic should be paid specific attention by university-based counseling services.
    Keywords:  academic procrastination; college students; future time perspective; grit; peer attachment
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02645
  9. Trends Ecol Evol. 2019 Dec 16. pii: S0169-5347(19)30341-6. [Epub ahead of print]
    Achorn AM, Rosenthal GG.
      What explains preferences for elaborate ornamentation in animals? The default answer remains that the prettiest males have the best genes. If mating signals predict good genes, mating preferences evolve because attractive mates yield additive genetic benefits through offspring viability, thereby maximizing chooser fitness. Across disciplines, studies claim 'good genes' without measuring mating preferences, measuring offspring viability, distinguishing between additive and nonadditive benefits, or controlling for manipulation of chooser investment. Crucially, studies continue to assert benefits to choosers purely based on signal costs to signalers. A focus on fitness outcomes for choosers suggests that 'good genes' are insufficient to explain the evolution of mate choice or of sexual ornamentation.
    Keywords:  genetic benefits; genetic quality; indirect benefits; mate choice
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2019.11.007