bims-chumac Biomed News
on Context effects on human mate choice
Issue of 2020‒09‒06
nine papers selected by
Jay Dixit

  1. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2020 Sep 03. pii: gbaa149. [Epub ahead of print]
    Nikitin J, Wünsche J, L Bühler J, Weidmann R, Burriss RP, Grob A.
      OBJECTIVES: Despite the centrality of people's approach goals (i.e., approach toward positive outcomes) and avoidance goals (i.e., avoidance of negative outcomes) in romantic relationships, little is known about the interdependence of approach and avoidance relationship goals between partners. Assuming that short-term, state-level goals accumulate into general goal tendencies, the present research tested whether partners' daily (i.e., state level) and aggregated daily (i.e., trait level) approach and avoidance goals are mutually predictive in the short term (after one day) and the long term (after 10-12 months). In addition, we explored whether goal interdependence unfolds differently across adulthood and in relationships of different duration.METHOD: Approach and avoidance goals were assessed daily on two 14-day measurement-burst occasions that were conducted 10-12 months apart. The sample consisted of N = 456 female-male couples (age: M = 33.6, SD = 13.8 years; relationship duration: M = 9.6, SD = 10.7 years).
    RESULTS: We observed significant short- and long-term partner effects in the prediction of couple members' approach and avoidance goals. These partner effects were restricted to trait level and they did not emerge at the state level. Almost all effects were independent of age and relationship duration.
    DISCUSSION: The present research underscores the importance of disentangling state- and trait-level goal tendencies when investigating the interdependence of approach and avoidance goals within romantic relationships.
    Keywords:  goal interdependence; motivation; personality; romantic relationships
  2. PLoS One. 2020 ;15(8): e0237315
    Figueroa O, Muñoz-Reyes JA, Rodriguez-Sickert C, Valenzuela N, Pavez P, Ramírez-Herrera O, Pita M, Diaz D, Fernández-Martínez AB, Polo P.
      The decision to allocate time and energy to find multiple sexual partners or raise children is a fundamental reproductive trade-off. The Strategic Pluralism Hypothesis argues that human reproductive strategies are facultatively calibrated towards either investing in mating or parenting (or a mixture), according to the expression of features dependent on the individual's condition. This study seeks to test predictions derived from this hypothesis in a sample of 242 young men (M ± SD = 22.12 ± 3.08) from Chile's 5th Region (33֯ south latitude). Specifically, two predictions were considered that raise questions about the relationship between traits related to physical and psychological attractiveness (fluctuating facial asymmetry and self-perception of attractiveness) and competitive skills (baseline testosterone and self-perception of fighting ability) with short-term reproductive strategies. Our results indicate that psychological features related to the self-perception of physical attractiveness are related to short-term reproductive strategies. However, no evidence was found that fluctuating facial asymmetry, basal levels of testosterone and self-perception of fighting ability were related to short-term reproductive strategies. These results support the existing evidence of the importance of physical attractiveness in calibrating men's reproductive strategies but cast doubts about the role of fluctuating facial asymmetry. They also suggest that traits related to physical attractiveness, in comparison to competitive capabilities, play a more important role in calibrating men's short-term reproductive strategies.
  3. Evol Psychol. 2020 Jul-Sep;18(3):18(3): 1474704920953526
    Apostolou M, Wang Y.
      Keeping an intimate relationship is challenging, and many people face difficulties in doing so. In the current research, we have attempted to identify these difficulties, within the context of an evolutionary theoretical framework. More specifically, by using a combination of qualitative research methods in a sample of 163 Greek-speaking participants, we identified 78 such difficulties. By employing maximum likelihood analysis on the scores of 1,099 Greek-speaking participants, we classified these difficulties in 12 broader factors. The most important factor was "Fading away enthusiasm," followed by "Long work hours" and "Lack of personal time and space." Almost 70% of the participants indicated that at least one factor, and 41% indicated that three or more factors caused them difficulties. Significant sex effects were found for most factors, indicating that men and women differed in the importance they ascribed to these difficulties. Moreover, significant age, marital status and number of children effects were found for several factors.
    Keywords:  difficulties in keeping an intimate relationship; intimate relationships; keeping an intimate relationship; mating; mismatch problem
  4. Curr Opin Psychol. 2020 Aug 08. pii: S2352-250X(20)30142-1. [Epub ahead of print]40 15-19
    Moon JW.
      Many religions emphasize the importance of sexual morality. This article argues mating strategies are central to understanding religion. I highlight the reproductive-religiosity model, which suggests that religious behavior is partly motivated by preferences for restricted mating strategies. I then discuss how religion can lead to reproductive benefits. Specifically, religions can make parenting a relatively safer strategy by increasing paternal certainty, which drives men toward parental investment, and alloparenting, which reduces offspring mortality rates. Next, I discuss the social implications of reproductive-religiosity, including mate selection and trust. Finally, I discuss the potential role of mating strategies in the evolution and cultural evolution of religion and discuss future directions for developing an approach to religion rooted in mating interests.
  5. J Sex Marital Ther. 2020 Sep 03. 1-10
    Anzani A, Prunas A.
      Sexual fantasies typically represent sexually arousing mental imagery and, thus, are thought to play a role in sexual activation and sexual desire. They are also related to sexual and personal satisfaction. Differences between cisgender men and women's imagery are widely reported in the literature. In contrast, research on sexual fantasies among the trans community is scarce, especially when it comes to nonbinary identified people. The aim of the present study is to explore similarities and differences in the sexual imagery of cisgender women and men and nonbinary individuals, through a checklist of sexual fantasies, the Italian version of the Sexual Fantasy Questionnaire (SFQ). Results highlight that nonbinary individuals rate almost all categories of SFQ fantasies as sexually non-exciting, unlike cisgender men and women. The differences between cisgender men and women only partially confirm the results reported in the literature. In particular, the higher tendency to fantasize about dominance in men and passivity in women is not found in the present sample. Results are discussed in the light of the sexual script theory.
  6. Annu Rev Psychol. 2020 Sep 04.
    Karney BR.
      The ways that couples form and manage their intimate relationships at higher and lower levels of socioeconomic status (SES) have been diverging steadily over the past several decades. At higher SES levels, couples postpone marriage and childbirth to invest in education and careers, but they eventually marry at high rates and have relatively low risk for divorce. At lower SES levels, couples are more likely to cohabit and give birth prior to marriage and less likely to marry at all. This review examines how SES comes to be associated with the formation, development, and dissolution of intimate relationships. Overall, research has highlighted how a couple's socioeconomic context facilitates some choices and constrains others, resulting in different capacities for relationship maintenance and different adaptive mating strategies for more and less advantaged couples. A generalizable relationship science requires research that acknowledges these differences and one that recruits, describes, and attends to socioeconomic diversity across couples. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Psychology, Volume 72 is January 4, 2021. Please see for revised estimates.
  7. J Sex Res. 2020 Sep 03. 1-9
    Haj-Mohamadi P, Gillath O, Rosenberg EL.
      Internal states may be conveyed to others nonverbally through facial expression. We investigated the existence of a particular facial cue that may be effectively used by women to indicate interest in a man. Across six studies, men generally recognized a female facial expression as representing flirting. Flirtatious expressions receiving low recognition by men differed in morphology from the highly recognized flirting expressions. The discrepancies are indicative of individual differences among women in effectively conveying a flirtatious facial cue and among men in recognizing this cue. The morphology of the highly recognized flirtatious facial expressions, coded using the Facial Action Coding System (FACS), included: a head turned to one side and tilted down slightly, a slight smile, and eyes turned forward (toward the implied target). Results from experimental studies showed that flirtatious facial expressions, as compared with happy or neutral expressions, led to faster identification of sex words by men. These findings support the role of flirtatious expression in communication and mating initiation.
  8. J Marital Fam Ther. 2020 Sep 01.
    Valdez CM, Leonhardt ND, Busby DM.
      Attachment insecurity is negatively linked to sexual satisfaction in committed relationships, but we have much to learn about the specific mechanisms underlying this connection. With a sample of 1,421 participants from Amazon's Mechanical Turk, we used structural equation modeling to explore whether sexual passion expression (harmonious, obsessive, inhibited) might mediate the association between insecure attachment (anxious and avoidant) and sexual satisfaction. Anxious attachment was linked to lower harmonious sexual passion, higher obsessive sexual passion, and higher inhibited sexual passion. Attachment avoidance was linked to lower harmonious sexual passion and higher inhibited sexual passion. Harmonious sexual passion was strongly linked to higher sexual satisfaction, and inhibited sexual passion was negatively linked to sexual satisfaction (for men). Sexual passion expression variables fully mediated the associations between attachment insecurity and sexual satisfaction. This study highlights that the expression of sexual passion may be important when considering the connection between attachment and sexual satisfaction.
    Keywords:  attachment; sexual passion; sexuality
  9. J Am Coll Health. 2020 Sep 02. 1-11
    Reese-Weber M, Zimmerman C, Cary KM, McLeese MG.
      OBJECTIVE: To examine how specific aspects of a hookup are related to feelings of regret among college students, and how these patterns vary by gender and college context. Participants: Freshmen and sophomore men (n = 92) and women (n = 283) from a Midwestern university and community college. Methods: Participants answered questions about their most recent hookup and feelings of regret. Results: Frequency of engaging in a hookup was similar across gender and college context. Men and women were more likely to regret hookups with strangers and when alcohol was involved. Women had fewer regrets when their last hookup occurred with a partner they had also hooked up with in the past than when the hookup occurred only once with that partner. University students reported more regret when the hookup occurred with a stranger, occurred only one time, and when alcohol was used, but this was not found for community college students. Conclusions: Future research should examine hookup experiences through a developmental lens.
    Keywords:  College; Hookups; gender; regret; sexual behaviors