bims-chumac Biomed News
on Context effects on human mate choice
Issue of 2021‒01‒03
five papers selected by
Jay Dixit

  1. Evol Psychol. 2020 Oct-Dec;18(4):18(4): 1474704920979623
    Mehmetoglu M, Määttänen I.
      Previous research has provided evidence that females are generally the more selective sex in humans. Moreover, both sexes have been found to be more selective in long-term mating compared to short-term mating. In this study, we have examined the effects of sex, mating strategy (preferred relationship length) and their interaction on mate preferences (i.e., mate selection criteria) in an egalitarian Nordic society, namely Norway. The study sample consisted of 1,000 individuals, 417 of whom were male and 583 female respondents. According to our findings, men were more selective in physical appearance, whereas women were more selective in all the other mate preferences (e.g., understanding, dominant, kind, intellectual etc.). The respondents that were seeking short-term relationships had higher preference for physical appearance, humorousness and sociability. On the other hand, the respondents that were seeking long-term relationships were more selective in most of the other mate preferences (i.e., understanding, kind, cultivated, domestic, reliable, and similar). Interestingly, no interaction effect was found between sex and mating strategy in that differences between long-term and short-term seekers in mate preferences did not change depending on sex. This suggests that men and women value the same traits in short-term relationships.
    Keywords:  long-term mating; mate preference; sex differences; sexual selection; short-term mating
  2. PLoS One. 2020 ;15(12): e0243733
    Potarca G.
      Within the span of almost ten years, phone dating apps have transformed the dating scene by normalizing and, according to some voices, gamifying the digital quest for a partner. Despite amplified discussion on how swipe-based apps damage the fabric of intimate ties, scientific accounts on whether they have led to different relationship patterns are missing. Using 2018 survey data from Switzerland, this study provides a rich overview of couples who met through dating apps by addressing three main themes: 1) family formation intentions, 2) relationship satisfaction and individual well-being, and 3) assortative mating. The data indicate that in Switzerland, dating apps have recently taken over as main online dating context. Results further show that couples formed through mobile dating have stronger cohabiting intentions than those formed in non-digital settings. Women who found their partner through a dating app also have stronger fertility desires and intentions than those who found their partner offline. Generally, there are no differences between couples initiated through dating apps and those initiated elsewhere regarding relationship and life satisfaction. Though more data are needed to capture the full range of users' romantic and sexual experiences, current results mitigate some of the concerns regarding the short-term orientation or the poor quality of relationships formed through mobile dating. Findings finally suggest that dating apps play an important role in altering couple composition by allowing for more educationally diverse and geographically distant couples.
  3. Horm Behav. 2020 Dec 29. pii: S0018-506X(20)30242-7. [Epub ahead of print] 104916
    Stern J, Kordsmeyer TL, Penke L.
      Are ovulatory cycle shifts in women's mate attraction and preferences robust? What are underlying mechanisms of potential cycle shifts? These questions are the subject of a current scientific debate surrounding the good genes ovulatory shift hypothesis. Here, we report a large, preregistered, within-subjects study, including salivary hormone measures and conception risk estimates based on luteinizing hormone tests. In four sessions across one ovulatory cycle, N = 257 women (= 1028 sessions) rated the attractiveness of 40 natural male bodies, 40 natural female bodies and 40 objects. Multilevel analyses yielded weak evidence for ovulatory increases in women's general attraction, specifically to male bodies, though they are not systematically related to changes in steroid hormone levels. Further, we found no compelling robust evidence for mate preference shifts across the cycle, as only one out of many different tests showed some weak evidence for such effects. Mechanisms regulating cycle shifts, the impact of our results on developing and revising cycle shift theories, and influences of different methodologies on results are discussed.
    Keywords:  Fertility; Mate attraction; Mate preferences; Ovulatory cycle; Steroid hormones
  4. Psychophysiology. 2020 Dec 23. e13739
    Coutinho J, Pereira A, Oliveira-Silva P, Meier D, Lourenço V, Tschacher W.
      The degree to which romantic partners' autonomic responses are coordinated, represented by their pattern of physiological synchrony, seems to capture important aspects of the reciprocal influence and co-regulation between spouses. In this study, we analyzed couple's cardiac synchrony as measured by heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV). A sample of 27 couples (N = 54) performed a structured interaction task in the lab where they discussed positive and negative aspects of the relationship. During the interaction, their cardiac measures (HR and HRV) were recorded using the BIOPAC System. Additional assessment, prior to the lab interaction task, included self-report measures of empathy (Interpersonal Reactivity Index and Interpersonal Reactivity Index for Couples) and relationship satisfaction (Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale). Synchrony computation was based on the windowed cross-correlation of both partner's HR and HRV time series. In order to control for random synchrony, surrogate controls were created using segment-wise shuffling. Our results confirmed the presence of cardiac synchrony during the couple's interaction when compared to surrogate testing. Specifically, we found evidence for negative (antiphase) synchrony of couple's HRV and positive (in-phase) synchrony of HR. Further, both HRV and HR synchronies were associated with several dimensions of self-report data. This study suggests that cardiac synchrony, particularly, the direction of the covariation in the partners' physiological time series, may have an important relational meaning in the context of marital interactions.
    Keywords:  heart rate; heart rate variability; physiological synchrony; romantic relationships; surrogate synchrony (SUSY)
  5. Evol Psychol. 2020 Oct-Dec;18(4):18(4): 1474704920980642
    Wen F, Zuo B, Ma S, Xu Y, Coley JD, Wang Y.
      Previous research on non-facial features demonstrated that masculinity and femininity correlated highly with perceived competence and warmth, respectively. Several studies focused on dimorphic facial cues and found an association between masculine faces and competence. However, there's no study exploring the association between facial dimorphism and social judgment both using explicit and implicit experimental paradigms, i.e. Triad Classification Task, Implicit Associate Task. This study examined the association of masculinity/femininity and competence/warmth via explicit and implicit measures in three experiments. The results showed that participants saw feminine/masculine faces as more consistent with warmth/competence for both male and female faces. Besides, it was found that the above associations were more obvious in female participants. The current studies extended research of effects of dimorphic facial cue in social judgment and provided direct evidence linking facial masculinity with perceived competence, and facial femininity with perceived warmth.
    Keywords:  facial perception; implicit association test; sexual dimorphism; stereotype content model; triad classification task