Archive for the ‘Evolutionary Psychology’ Category

Sex differences in preferences for humor: A replication, modification, and extension

June 18, 2015 Comments off

Sex differences in preferences for humor: A replication, modification, and extension
Source: Evolutionary Psychology

Evolutionary-minded scientists have proposed that humor is a sexually selected trait in men that signals mate quality. Indeed, women tend to prefer men who make them laugh and men tend to prefer women who laugh at their jokes. However, it is unclear how robust this pattern is. Here we report a replication of one of the first studies (Bressler, Martin, and Balshine, 2006) to examine the sex differences in preferences for humor receptivity versus humor production. We replicate Bressler et al.’s (2006) findings that men prefer women who are receptive to their humor whereas women prefer men who produce humor. These findings held even after we modified Bressler et al.’s questionnaire for better conceptual validity. Furthermore, using a separate measure designed to assess trade-offs, we found that men viewed humor receptivity as a necessity and humor production as a luxury when they were asked to create an ideal long-term partner. For women, it was just the opposite. These results bolster the claim that sexual selection has shaped sex differences regarding preferences for a prospective mate’s sense of humor and that what one means by “sense of humor” can vary.

Does playing pay? The fitness-effect of free play during childhood

May 27, 2014 Comments off

Does playing pay? The fitness-effect of free play during childhood
Source: Evolutionary Psychology

Evolutionary developmental psychology claims that the sequences and processes of human development, in fact the mere fact of ontogeny itself, have to be viewed as evolutionary products. However, although the functional benefits of childish behavior (child playing) for cognitive and emotional development have been shown repeatedly, claiming evolutionary adaptiveness of playing in childhood suggests that childish play supports evolutionary success in mature stages of development. This hypothesis is tested in a study with N = 134 adults (93 females; age range 20-66 years). Participants were asked to recollect their play experiences during childhood in detail, and to report their current developmental status with respect to several aspects of social success. Results show that the opportunity for and the promotion of free play in childhood significantly predict some indicators of social success. Additional analyses strive to explore mediating processes for this relationship. In particular, the mediating role of individual adaptivity (flexibility of goal adjustment) is investigated. Results suggest that freely playing in childhood promotes developmental resources, in particular individual adaptivity in adulthood, which, in turn, promote developmental success.

Drinking games as a venue for sexual competition

October 10, 2013 Comments off

Drinking games as a venue for sexual competition
Source: Evolutionary Psychology

Based on sexual selection theory, we hypothesized that sex differences in mating effort and social competitiveness—and subsequent sex differences in sexual and competitive motivations for participating in drinking games—are responsible for the well-documented sex differences in college students’ drinking game behaviors. Participants in a cross-sectional study were 351 women and 336 men aged 17 to 26. In a mediation model, we tested sex differences in mating effort, social competitiveness, sexual and competitive motivations for participating in drinking games, drinking game behaviors, and alcohol-related problems. Men participated in drinking games more frequently, consumed more alcohol while participating in drinking games, and experienced more problems associated with drinking. These sex differences appeared to be partially mediated by mating effort, social competitiveness, and sexual and competitive motivations for participating in drinking games. Drinking games are a major venue in which college students engage in heavy episodic drinking, which is a risk factor for college students’ behavioral and health problems. Thus, the functional perspective we used to analyze them here may help to inform public health and university interventions and enable better identification of at-risk students.

Friendship as a relationship infiltration tactic during human mate poaching

October 9, 2013 Comments off

Friendship as a relationship infiltration tactic during human mate poaching
Source: Evolutionary Psychology

Previous research has characterized human mate poaching as a prevalent alternative mating strategy that entails risks and costs typically not present during general romantic courtship and attraction. This study is the first to experimentally investigate friendship between a poacher and his/her target as a risk mitigation tactic. Participants (N = 382) read a vignette that differed by whether the poacher was male/female and whether the poacher and poached were friends/acquaintances. Participants assessed the likelihood of the poacher being successful and incurring costs. They also rated the poacher and poached on several personality and mate characteristics. Results revealed that friendship increased the perceived likelihood of success of a mate poaching attempt and decreased the perceived likelihood of several risks typically associated with mate poaching. However, friend-poachers were rated less favorably than acquaintance-poachers across measures of warmth, nurturance, and friendliness. These findings are interpreted using an evolutionary perspective. This study complements and builds upon previous findings and is the first experimental investigation of tactics poachers may use to mitigate risks inherent in mate poaching.

Is there an own-race preference in attractiveness?

August 20, 2013 Comments off

Is there an own-race preference in attractiveness?
Source: Evolutionary Psychology

Even in multicultural nations interracial relationships and marriages are quite rare, one reflection of assortative mating. A relatively unexplored factor that could explain part of this effect is that people may find members of their own racial group more attractive than members of other groups. We tested whether there is an own-race preference in attractiveness judgments, and also examined the effect of familiarity by comparing the attractiveness ratings given by participants of different ancestral and geographic origins to faces of European, East Asian and African origin. We did not find a strong own-race bias in attractiveness judgments, but neither were the data consistent with familiarity, suggesting an important role for other factors determining the patterns of assortative mating observed.

Born both ways: The alloparenting hypothesis for sexual fluidity in women

April 26, 2013 Comments off

Born both ways: The alloparenting hypothesis for sexual fluidity in women
Source: Evolutionary Psychology

Given the primacy of reproduction, same-sex sexual behavior poses an evolutionary puzzle. Why would selection fashion motivational mechanisms to engage in sexual behaviors with members of the same sex? We propose the alloparenting hypothesis, which posits that sexual fluidity in women is a contingent adaptation that increased ancestral women’s ability to form pair bonds with female alloparents who helped them rear children to reproductive age. Ancestral women recurrently faced the adaptive problems of securing resources and care for their offspring, but were frequently confronted with either a dearth of paternal resources due to their mates’ death, an absence of paternal investment due to rape, or a divestment of paternal resources due to their mates’ extra-pair mating efforts. A fluid sexuality would have helped ancestral women secure resources and care for their offspring by promoting the acquisition of allomothering investment from unrelated women. Under this view, most heterosexual women are born with the capacity to form romantic bonds with both sexes. Sexual fluidity is a conditional reproductive strategy with pursuit of men as the default strategy and same-sex sexual responsiveness triggered when inadequate paternal investment occurs or when women with alloparenting capabilities are encountered. Discussion focuses on (a) evidence for alloparenting and sexual fluidity in humans and other primates; (b) alternative explanations for sexual fluidity in women; and(c) fourteen circumstances predicted to promote same-sex sexual behavior in women.

Redness Enhances Perceived Aggression, Dominance and Attractiveness in Men’s Faces

October 9, 2012 Comments off

Redness Enhances Perceived Aggression, Dominance and Attractiveness in Men’s Faces

Source: Evolutionary Psychology

In a range of non-human primate, bird and fish species, the intensity of red coloration in males is associated with social dominance, testosterone levels and mate selection. In humans too, skin redness is associated with health, but it is not known whether – as in non-human species – it is also associated with dominance and links to attractiveness have not been thoroughly investigated. Here we allow female participants to manipulate the CIELab a* value (red-green axis) of skin to maximize the perceived aggression, dominance and attractiveness of photographs of men’s faces, and make two findings. First, participants increased a* (increasing redness) to enhance each attribute, suggesting that facial redness is perceived as conveying similar information about a male’s qualities in humans as it does in non-human species. Second, there were significant differences between trial types: the highest levels of red were associated with aggression, an intermediate level with dominance, and the least with attractiveness. These differences may reflect a trade-off between the benefits of selecting a healthy, dominant partner and the negative consequences of aggression.


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