bims-chumac Biomed News
on Context effects on human mate choice
Issue of 2021‒01‒10
four papers selected by
Jay Dixit

  1. Pers Soc Psychol Rev. 2021 Jan 07. 1088868320971258
    Conroy-Beam D.
      Choosing a mate is perhaps the most important decision a sexually reproducing organism makes in its lifetime. And yet, psychologists lack a precise description of human mate choice, despite sustained attention from several theoretical perspectives. Here, I argue this limited progress owes to the complexity of mate choice and describe a new modeling approach, called "couple simulation," designed to compare models of mate choice by challenging them to reproduce real couples within simulated mating markets. I present proof-of-concept simulations that demonstrate couple simulation can identify a population's true model of mate choice. Furthermore, I apply couple simulation to two samples of real couples and find that the method (a) successfully reconstructs real-world couples, (b) discriminates between models of mate choice, and (c) predicts a wide range of dimensions of relationship quality. Collectively, these results provide evidence that couple simulation offers a framework useful for evaluating theories of human mate choice.
    Keywords:  agent-based modeling; human mating; mate choice; relationships
  2. Evol Psychol. 2021 Jan-Mar;19(1):19(1): 1474704920976318
    Thomas AG, Armstrong SL, Stewart-Williams S, Jones BC.
      Previous research has found that women at peak fertility show greater interest in extra-pair sex. However, recent replications have failed to detect this effect. In this study, we add to this ongoing debate by testing whether sociosexuality (the willingness to have sex in the absence of commitment) is higher in women who are at peak fertility. A sample of normally ovulating women (N = 773) completed a measure of sociosexuality and had their current fertility status estimated using the backward counting method. Contrary to our hypothesis, current fertility was unrelated to sociosexual attitudes and desires, even when relationship status was included as a moderator. These findings raise further doubts about the association between fertility and desire for extra-pair sex.
    Keywords:  extra-pair mating; mate preferences; menstrual cycle; ovulatory shift hypothesis; sociosexuality
  3. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2021 Jan;120(1): 16-29
    Enisman M, Shpitzer H, Kleiman T.
      One of the prominent, by now seminal, paradigms in the research tradition of cognitive dissonance (Festinger, 1957) is the free-choice paradigm developed by Brehm (1956) to measure choice-induced preference change. Some 50 years after Brehm introduced the paradigm, Chen and Risen (2010) published an influential critique arguing that what the paradigm measures is not necessarily a choice-induced preference change, but possibly an artifact of the choice revealing existing preferences. They showed that once the artifact is experimentally controlled for, there is either no or very little evidence for choice-induced preference change. Given the prominence of the paradigm, this critique meant that much of what we thought we knew about the psychological process of cognitive dissonance might not be true. Following the critique, research using the paradigm applied various corrections to overcome the artifact. The present research examined whether choice truly changes preferences, or rather merely reflects them. We conducted a meta-analysis on 43 studies (N = 2,191), all using an artifact-free free-choice paradigm. Using different meta-analytical methods, and conceptually different analyses, including a Bayesian one, we found an overall effect size of Cohen's d = 0.40, 95% confidence interval (CI) [0.32, 0.49]. Furthermore, we found no evidence for publication bias as an alternative explanation for the choice-induced preference change effect. These results support the existence of true preference change created by choice. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
  4. Can J Diet Pract Res. 2020 12 15. 1-7
    Fraser K, Brady J, Lordly D.
      The purpose of this exploratory research was to understand the experiences and learnings of dietetic and nutrition students following a 3-week intensive summer course designed to enhance students' understandings of compassion, creativity, and sense of coherence as they apply to personal growth and socially just professional practice. Seven of 15 students participated in one-on-one, semi-structured interviews. Data analysis was conducted using inductive thematic analysis, resulting in 3 meta-themes: (i) personal meaning and sense making, (ii) relational and power dynamics, and (iii) disruption; participants contextualized these themes via a dynamic interplay within and among the domains of self, pedagogy, and practice. As a result of taking this course, participants developed an enhanced sense of coherence, self-compassion, well-being, and a more equity-focused understanding of health. Student development may have been achieved through attending to student experience and a relational pedagogical epistemology that allowed students to make personal, interpersonal, and systemic connections among their own subjective experiences, the experiences of peers, and broader social impacts on health. Given nutrition classrooms are largely positivist, it is important to consider how these environments as relational contexts may support or undermine compassion, sense of coherence, and ultimately the health and well-being of students.