bims-chumac Biomed News
on Context effects on human mate choice
Issue of 2020‒03‒15
six papers selected by
Jay Dixit
Storytelling.NYC


  1. PLoS One. 2020 ;15(3): e0230112
    Craig LK, Gray PB.
      Current literature on women's sexual signaling focuses on modes of attracting potential, new sexual partners, but says little about women's subtle sexual signals in committed, romantic relationships. Subtle sexual signals are inherently private and are only visible to the intended audience; a woman might use these signals to elicit or accept a sexual response from her partner or to increase her overall attractiveness, or attractivity. In this study, we sought to identify women's use of intimate apparel as a proceptive or receptive behavior as well as the effects of relative mate value, relationship commitment, relationship satisfaction, and sexual functioning. A total of N = 353 women in the United States aged 25-45 who were in committed, heterosexual relationships completed the survey; 88.7% of the sample indicated wearing or having worn sexy underwear. Results indicate that women report wearing sexier underwear the day taking the survey if they anticipate sexual activity that same day. However, during the most recent sexual activity, women did not report wearing sexier underwear if they initiated (proceptive) that activity. While relative mate value was not directly related to sexiness of intimate apparel, women who report higher mate value tend to wear sexier underwear. Women's use of intimate apparel might be viewed as a method of increasing attractivity and underlying receptivity to aid relationship maintenance, though caveats regarding measures and alternative interpretations are also discussed. Findings suggest that these women use intimate apparel to feel sexy, desired, aroused, and to prepare for sex with their partners. This study is the first to examine intimate apparel in relationships and as a subtle sexual signal of proceptivity and receptivity.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0230112
  2. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2020 Mar 11. 146167220907469
    Kim JJ, Muise A, Sakaluk JK, Rosen NO, Impett EA.
      In most long-term romantic relationships, partners experience sexual conflicts of interest in which one partner declines the other partner's sexual advances. We investigated the distinct ways people reject a partner's advances (i.e., with reassuring, hostile, assertive, and deflecting behaviors) in Studies 1 and 2. Using cross-sectional (Study 3) and daily experience methods (Study 4), we investigated how perceptions of a partner's rejection behaviors are linked with the rejected partner's relationship and sexual satisfaction. We found robust evidence that perceived partner reassuring behaviors were associated with greater satisfaction, whereas perceived partner hostile behaviors were associated with lower levels of satisfaction. Perceived partner responsiveness was a key mechanism underlying the effects. Findings for assertive and deflecting behaviors were limited, but the effect of deflecting behaviors was qualified by levels of hostile behaviors for sexual satisfaction. Findings provide the first empirical investigation of the specific ways partners can decline one another's advances to preserve satisfaction.
    Keywords:  close relationships; responsiveness; satisfaction; sexual communication; sexual rejection
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167220907469
  3. Scand J Psychol. 2020 Mar 11.
    Greitemeyer T.
      Past research has shown that how people rate their physical attractiveness is only moderately correlated with how they are rated by others, suggesting that at least some people have little insight into their true level of attractiveness. The present research tests the hypothesis that unattractive people are not aware of their unattractiveness. In fact, six studies (overall N = 1,180) showed that unattractive participants considerably overestimated their attractiveness compared to ratings by strangers. In contrast, attractive participants were more accurate. If anything, they underestimated their attractiveness. It was also examined why unattractive people overestimate their attractiveness. As expected, unattractive participants differentiated less between attractive and unattractive stimulus persons than did attractive participants. They were also more likely than attractive participants to select unattractive stimulus persons to compare themselves to. However, these tendencies did not account for why unattractive participants overestimated their attractiveness, nor did affirming participant's self-worth. Limitations and avenues for future research are discussed.
    Keywords:  Dunning-Kruger effect; Physical attractiveness; above average effect; self-serving bias
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/sjop.12631
  4. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2020 Mar 11. 146167220910323
    Fletcher GJO, Overall NC, Campbell L.
      Eastwick, Finkel, and Simpson (2018) advanced recommendations for "best practices" in testing the predictive validity of individual differences in the extent to which perceptions of partners match ideal standards (ideal-partner matching). We respond to their article evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of different tests, presenting new analyses of existing data, and setting out conclusions that differ from Eastwick et al. We (a) argue that correlations between ideal standards for attributes in partners and corresponding partner perceptions are relevant to the ideal standards model (ISM), (b) show that important methodological and statistical issues qualify their interpretations of prior research, (c) illustrate a new analytic approach used in the accuracy literature that tests (and controls for) confounds highlighted by Eastwick et al., and (d) provide evidence that the direct-estimation measure of ideal-partner matching is a valid and useful method. We conclude with a cautionary note on the concept of best practices.
    Keywords:  best practices; ideal standards model
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167220910323
  5. Arch Sex Behav. 2020 Mar 12.
    Olmstead SB.
      The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between perceptions of each developmental feature of emerging adulthood and endorsement of each feature of the hookup culture with number of different hookup partners and hookup behaviors. Participants were 1219 college-attending emerging adults (ages 18-29 years) who completed an online survey about emerging adult experiences. After controlling for semester of data collection and known correlates of hooking up (e.g., age, sex, religiosity, and binge drinking experience), none of the developmental features of emerging adulthood were significantly associated with number of different hookup partners in the last 12 months. In addition, only one feature of the hookup culture was associated with number of different hookup partners: Hooking up is fun. In follow-up analyses among those who reported at least one hookup in the last 12 months (n = 807), some of the developmental features of emerging adulthood (e.g., experimentation/possibilities, negativity/instability) and features of the hookup culture (e.g., hooking up is fun, hooking up provides sexual freedom) helped differentiate reported involvement in various types of hookup behaviors. The most prominent and consistent correlate was number of different hookup partners in the last 12 months (increased likelihood of all behaviors, except deep kissing). Recommendations for understanding hooking up as a developmental and/or cultural experience are discussed.
    Keywords:  Casual sex; College students; Emerging adulthood; Hooking up; Hookup culture
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-020-01658-2
  6. J Marital Fam Ther. 2020 Mar 10.
    Washburn-Busk M, Vennum A, McAllister P, Busk P.
      While the research is clear on the risks for distress associated with on-again, off-again romantic relationships (i.e., cyclical relationships), little is known about the change mechanisms experienced by partners in cyclical relationships or how helping professionals can assist young adults stably continue or end these relationships. Young adults (N = 21) in different stages of cyclical relationships (renewed, ended, or contemplating renewal) attended focus groups and articulated specific mechanisms that influenced their ability to make distress-reducing decisions. Main themes for professionals working with partners in cyclical relationships centered on promoting "decision-making resilience," which included addressing issues around identity development, communication, power/control dynamics, and intentionality. These results inform assessments and interventions to bolster resilience and reduce distress for cyclical couples.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/jmft.12425