bims-chumac Biomed News
on Context effects on human mate choice
Issue of 2020‒08‒30
seven papers selected by
Jay Dixit

  1. Arch Sex Behav. 2020 Aug 24.
    Albert G, Richardson GB, Arnocky S, Senveli Z, Hodges-Simeon CR.
      In this study, we review the psychometric literature on mating effort and find that extant instruments (1) have not been adequately evaluated in terms of internal structure and measurement invariance, and (2) disproportionately focus on mate retention and intrasexual competition tactics designed to repel competitors, relative to attraction and investment effort. To address these gaps in the literature, we carried out two studies to develop and validate a new Mating Effort Questionnaire (MEQ). In Study 1, we report a pilot study in which participants' responses to an item pool were submitted to exploratory factor analysis. In Study 2, we replicated the structure found in Study 1 using confirmatory factor analysis in an independent sample. A three-factor solution yielded the best fit. The three factors reflected respondents' allocation of energy to attracting high mate value partners when already mated, seeking out romantic partners when single, and investing in their current romantic partner and relationships. Strong partial measurement invariance held across the sexes, implying that observed scores may be used to compare them. We also found evidence of concurrent validity via associations between the MEQ and constructs such as sociosexual orientation, K-factor, mate retention behaviors, and respondents' sexual behavior. These findings suggest that the MEQ is a valid and novel measure of individual differences in mating effort which is well suited to complement existing mating effort measures.
    Keywords:  Human mating; Life history; Mating effort; Measurement
  2. J Sex Res. 2020 Aug 27. 1-10
    Fischer N, Štulhofer A, Hald GM, Carvalheira A, Træen B.
      Even though sexual activity frequently takes place with another person, research rarely focuses on how partners influence each other's sexual lives. This study used the sexual dyad to compare the concept of actual versus perceived discrepancy in sexual interest and explored how each is related to older partnered individuals' sexual satisfaction. Further, the study assessed the robustness of the association between sexual interest discrepancy and sexual satisfaction, if any, by controlling for emotional intimacy. The actor-partner interdependence model (APIM) using structural equation modeling (SEM) was applied to examine 677 heterosexual couples ages 60 to 75 in Norway, Denmark, Belgium, and Portugal. Although a couple's actual discrepancy in sexual interest was not predictive of female and male partners' sexual satisfaction, perceived discrepancy was negatively associated with sexual satisfaction in both partners after controlling for emotional intimacy. This indicates that the subjective feelings of being sexually dissimilar seem to be more important to sexual satisfaction than the actual mismatch among partners in older heterosexual couples. Moreover, the finding that emotional intimacy is linked with sexual satisfaction underscores the importance of a broader perspective on sexuality among older adults.
  3. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2020 Aug 27.
    Tissera H, Gazzard Kerr L, Carlson EN, Human LJ.
      A core component of social anxiety is the constant concern about what others think of the self. Could such metaperceptions-beliefs about how others view the self-play a role in relationship initiation attempts? In the present research, we examined whether metaperceptions may contribute to why people higher in social anxiety experience difficulties in initial interactions. In 2 first-impressions contexts, a platonic getting-acquainted context (Study 1: N = 544; 2,878 dyads) and a speed dating context (Study 2: N = 376; 4,797 dyads), we explored the roles of 2 components of metaperceptions: meta-positivity (i.e., believing interaction partners' perceptions of the self are in line with the socially desirable personality profile) and distinctive meta-accuracy (i.e., accurately recognizing interaction partners' unique perception of the self, controlling for meta-positivity). Results revealed that people higher in social anxiety were liked less by interaction partners across both contexts, a link that was partially accounted for by lower distinctive meta-accuracy displayed by those higher in social anxiety. Further, lower meta-positivity displayed by people higher in social anxiety also contributed to the links between greater social anxiety and being liked less in the platonic setting and liking others less in both contexts. In sum, metaperceptions may play an important role in shaping initial interactions, potentially helping to explain why people with greater social anxiety encounter difficulties forming new relationships. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
  4. Comput Human Behav. 2019 Oct;99 1-8
    McDaniel BT, Drouin M.
      The current abundance of technology in daily life creates opportunities for interruptions in couple interactions, termed technoference or phubbing. The current study examined reports from both partners in 173 romantic relationships who completed daily surveys on technoference and relational well-being measures across 14 days. By using daily diary data, we were able to examine within-person associations and more closely approximate everyday life. Utilizing multilevel modeling, we found that on days when participants rated more technoference than usual, they felt worse about their relationship, perceived more conflict over technology use, rated their face-to-face interactions as less positive, and experienced more negative mood. These relationships existed even after controlling for general feelings of relationship dissatisfaction, depression, and attachment anxiety, and there were no significant differences between women and men in these associations. This suggests that regardless of an individual's or a couple's current level of well-being, if individuals perceive technology use as interfering in their interactions with their partner, these perceptions may affect their daily assessments of their relationship and mood.
    Keywords:  Technoference; couple conflict; depression; phubbing; problematic phone use; relationship satisfaction
  5. Acta Psychol (Amst). 2020 Aug 22. pii: S0001-6918(20)30057-3. [Epub ahead of print]210 103161
    Brandner JL, Dillon HM, Brase GL.
      It is presumed that people track the sex ratios in their environment (the number of males relative to number of females) in order to adaptively adjust their decisions and behaviors, but this actual tracking ability has not been established. The relevance of sex ratio information, drawn from evolutionary biology and studies of human relationship decision making, is integrated here with memory research (on frequency encoding), perception research (on ensemble coding), and neuroscience research. A series of four experiments provide empirical results to help fill research gaps and facilitate this theoretical integration. In particular, these studies connect details from memory research on relatively automatic frequency encoding of both items and categories, perception research on summary statistics from ensemble coding, and theoretical ideas about the function of these abilities (specifically applied to human sex ratios based on faces) from social and evolutionary approaches. Collectively this research demonstrates an evolved psychological mechanism for functional, fast, and relatively automatic human abilities to track experienced sex ratios in the social world. This sex ratio information is theorized to underpin documented facultative adjustments in relationship dynamics as well as perceptions of social group characteristics. This integrative approach highlights how the coding, memory, and judgments about population sex ratios can both account for a number of existing findings and point towards key further research.
    Keywords:  Automaticity; Ensemble coding; Frequency tracking; Sex ratios; Summary statistics
  6. J Voice. 2020 Aug 24. pii: S0892-1997(20)30252-6. [Epub ahead of print]
    Petty BE, Gillespie AI, Shelly S, Klein AM.
      OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to investigate the difference between vocal beauty and vocal attractiveness by determining whether perceptual ratings of vocal beauty and vocal attractiveness could be dissociated in a cohort of normal raters without a diagnosed sexual desire disorder.METHODS: Twenty five gay male participants were presented with randomly-chosen samples from the Geneva Voices and Faces Database, and were asked to rate each sample in terms of beauty, attractiveness for a relationship of short duration, and attractiveness for a relationship of long duration. Responses were recorded on a visual analog scale (0-100) using a touch-screen interface. The number of stimulus repetitions and the participant response times were also recorded. Statistical analyses were done using two-way Analysis of Variance tests and independent student's t tests. P values were considered statistically significant at the P < 0.05 level.
    RESULTS: Participants rated male voices significantly higher in terms of beauty, attractiveness for a relationship of long duration, and attractiveness for a relationship of short duration (P < 0.001). Participants rated female voices significantly higher for beauty than for attractiveness for relationship of long or short duration (P < 0.001). There was no significant difference in response time between male and female voices when rating vocal beauty (P = 0.5608). Response time was significantly longer for male voices than for female voices when assessing attractiveness for a relationship of short duration (P < 0.002) but not for long duration (P < 0.3496). Attractive voices (male and female) were repeated more often, and male voices were repeated more often than female voices for both long-term and short-term attractiveness. There was no difference in stimulus replay behavior as a function of the beauty ratings.
    CONCLUSION: In a cohort of gay male raters without a diagnosed sexual desire disorder, vocal beauty and vocal attractiveness ratings of male and female voices are two related but distinct perceptual constructs that can, under certain circumstances, be dissociated. In general, gay men rated male voices equivalently for beauty, short-term, and long-term attractiveness, while the same ratings for female voices showed a significant difference between ratings of beauty and ratings of short-term and long-term attractiveness.
    Keywords:  Aesthetics; Attractiveness; Perception; Voice
  7. J Fam Econ Issues. 2020 Sep;41(3): 405-423
    Addo FR, Zhang X.
      Despite a large literature on household finances and relationship quality, little is known about the degree of couple-level agreement on finances and its association with relationship outcomes. This study examines the relationship between financial concordance on household-level consumer debt and relationship quality, and the strength of the association after accounting for couple-level financial management practices. We apply hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) to couple-level data from a sample of married and cohabiting couples with children (435 couples, 870 respondents) from the Marital and Relationship Survey (MARS) and find that concordance on total household credit card debt is common but not the norm, with 55% of couples agreeing on their outstanding debt amount within our sample. Debt concordant couples have greater relationship satisfaction even after accounting for the outstanding debt amount, financial management practices such as income pooling, and joint purchase decisions, as well as relationship characteristics like their marital status, relationship duration, and the number of children in the household. We also find that disagreements related to financial issues attenuate the debt concordance and relationship quality association. Our results highlight the importance of including objective measures of household finance when assessing relationship quality.
    Keywords:  Couples; cohabitation; concordance; debt; low-income; relationship quality