bims-chumac Biomed News
on Context effects on human mate choice
Issue of 2020‒10‒18
three papers selected by
Jay Dixit
Storytelling.NYC


  1. Arch Sex Behav. 2020 Oct 14.
    Garza R, Byrd-Craven J.
      Women's mating strategies are dependent on multiple factors, such as identifying which men advertise physical features indicating high genetic quality, as well as identifying which men are willing to invest in offspring. Research has suggested that women pursuing short-term mating prioritize physical attraction to facilitate the acquisition of good genes. Although it is known that physical characteristics are important in mate choice, research investigating the saliency of physical features in assessing male fitness has not been readily explored. The current study used an eye-tracking paradigm to investigate the role of short-term mating in women and their attraction and visual attention to men's waist to chest ratios (WCRs). Women's short-term mating orientation (N = 130) was associated with attraction to men with low WCRs; however, their visual attention was not influenced by their mating strategy. Interestingly, women who perceived themselves as attractive rated men with low WCRs as more attractive and allocated attentional resources to physical features important in mate choice, such as the head and midriff region. The findings from this study lend some support to sexual strategies theory (Buss & Schmitt, 1993) and strategic pluralism (Gangestad & Simpson, 2000), and they suggest that mate preferences may be calibrated as a function of one's mate value.
    Keywords:  Evolutionary Psychology; Eye Tracking; Mate Preferences; Sexual Selection; Waist to Chest Ratios
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-020-01846-0
  2. Front Psychol. 2020 ;11 2258
    Lei Y, He X, Zhao T, Tian Z.
      Research on facial attractiveness is an important part of aesthetics. Most relevant studies in the area have focused on the influence of individual perspectives on facial attractiveness, but it is necessary to consider the effect of contextual information on facial attractiveness. In this study, we examine the influence on attractiveness of special faces in a given group. We define a "special face" as one that is significantly different from other members of the same group in terms of facial attractiveness. We conducted three experiments to explore the influence of different modes of presentation and central positions in a group on the judgment of attractiveness of the special face. The results show the following: (1) When the special face was part of a given group, the subjects made more extreme judgments than without it: that is, they judged the most attractive face as more attractive and the least as less attractive than when faces were presented alone. (2) The subjects rated the most attractive faces lower and the least attractive faces higher when the target faces in the middle of the group than in other positions. The results favored the contrast effect: when the subjects judged the attractiveness of target stimulus, they always compared it with the environment, which then became a reference in this regard. Moreover, the greater the amount of contextual information perceived, the higher the likelihood that assimilation would occur.
    Keywords:  contrast effect; facial attractiveness; group; special face; the cheerleader effect
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.02258
  3. Br J Soc Psychol. 2020 Oct 16.
    Zeeb V, Joffe H.
      The evidence that social relationships are associated with well-being is so strong that it is taken as a 'fact' (Kushlev et al., 2018, Journal of Research in Personality, 74, 124). The bulk of the existing evidence derives from research examining social relationships with close others, such as family, romantic partners, and friends (Dolan et al., 2008, Journal Economic Psychology, 29, 94; Li & Kanazawa, 2016, British Journal of Psychology, 107, 675). However, less is known about how connecting with strangers is associated with well-being, how such connections are represented by people, and what motivates people's desire to connect with strangers. This study aims to examine representations and motivations for social connectedness with strangers in contemporary British cities. To do this, an interview study of 52 city-dwellers living in Britain's two largest cities, London and Birmingham, was conducted. The Grid Elaboration Method (GEM) (Joffe & Elsey, 2014, Review of General Psychology, 18, 173), a free association and interview technique, was applied. Thematic analysis revealed that representations of strangers vacillate between 'good' and 'bad', are built upon the 'self/other' thema, are shaped by the contextual factors place, time, and technology, and are motivated by a desire to 'matter'. This work makes a key contribution to the study of social connectedness in cities and can inform effective urban policy.
    Keywords:  cities; mattering; social representations theory; strangers; well-being
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12423