Science of Sex Appeal- The Dating and Mating PoolMay , Cite as. While it is axiomatic that none of us are completely autonomous it is not easy to establish precisely how social and cultural forces operate shaping our attitudes and behavior. This is especially the case in the more intimate, personal realms of life, such as the choice of romantic partners. Individual beliefs and attitudes are rarely unique, or totally self-generated—important beliefs and preferences are widely shared in every society and if so, they have common, identifiable origins. In traditional societies it was relatively easy to locate the sources of widely held beliefs and values: it was the family, the community and religion which inculcated and transmitted them. In contemporary, modern societies, and especially the American, the influence of the family, community and church has greatly diminished and it must compete with others more difficult to identify. Popular or mass culture including advertising and self-help books is the most obvious and direct influence on the attitudes associated with the pursuit of romantic relationships.
Less clear, however, are the evolutionary benefits that women might have received from pursuing short-term mating strategies. However, women in a stressed situation may benefit from protection from a male and short term mating is a way to achieve this as is seen in contemporary asylum seeker anthropological studies .
One prominent hypothesis is that ancestral women selectively engaged in short-term mating with men capable of transmitting genetic benefits to their offspring such as health, disease resistance, or attractiveness see good genes theory and sexy son hypothesis.
Since women cannot inspect men's genes directly, they may have evolved to infer genetic quality from certain observable characteristics see indicator traits. One prominent candidate for a "good genes" indicator includes fluctuating asymmetry, or the degree to which men deviate from perfect bodily symmetry. Other candidates include masculine facial features,  behavioral dominance,  and low vocal pitch.
Indeed, research indicates that self-perceived physical attractiveness,  fluctuating asymmetry,  and low vocal pitch  are positively related to short-term mating success in men but not in women. Women are thought to seek long-term partners with resources such as shelter and food that provide aid and support survival of offspring.
Research on the conditional nature of mating strategies has revealed that long-term and short-term mating preferences can be fairly plastic.
Following exposure to cues that would have been affected mating in the ancestral past, both men and women appear to adjust their mating preferences in ways that would have historically enhanced their fitness. Such cues include the need to care for young, danger from animals and other humans, and resource availability.
Inthe evolutionary psychologist David Schmitt conducted a multinational survey of sexual attitudes and behaviors involving 48 countries called the International Sexual Description Project ISSR. One way in which the more numerous sex might compete is by displaying the attributes that are most desired by the scarcer sex. Since men have a greater desire for casual sex see abovesocieties with more women relative to men were predicted to exhibit higher scores on the SOI than societies with more balanced or male-biased sex ratios.
In societies where extensive care from both parents is needed to ensure offspring survival, the costs of having sex with an uncommitted partner are much higher.
Schmitt found significant negative correlations between several indices of need for biparental care e. Another important societal variable for mating strategies is the threat of infectious disease or pathogen prevalence. Since physical attractiveness is thought to signal health and disease resistance, evolutionary psychologists have predicted that, in societies high in pathogen prevalence, people value attractiveness more in a mate.
Indeed, research has confirmed that pathogen prevalence is associated with preferences for attractiveness across nations. Consistent with this reasoning, higher pathogen prevalence is associated with lower national SOI scores. Some evolutionary psychologists have argued that mating strategies can influence political attitudes.
According to this perspective, different mating strategies are in direct strategic conflict. For instance, the stability of long-term partnerships may be threatened by the availability of short-term sexual opportunities.EP60 - Evolutionary Psychology Insights Regarding Dating and Mating
Therefore, public policy measures that impose costs on casual sex may benefit people pursuing long-term mating strategies by reducing the availability of short-term mating opportunities outside of committed relationships. One public policy measure that imposes costs on people pursuing short-term mating strategies, and may thereby appeal to sexually restricted individuals, is the banning of abortion. In an influential doctoral dissertation, the psychologist Jason Weeden conducted statistical analyses on public and undergraduate datasets supporting the hypothesis that attitudes towards abortion are more strongly predicted by mating-relevant variables than by variables related to views on the sanctity of life.
Weeden and colleagues have also argued that attitudes towards drug legalization are driven by individual differences in mating strategies. Insofar as sexually restricted individuals associate recreational drug use with promiscuity, they may be motivated to oppose drug legalization.
Consistent with this, one study found that the strongest predictor of attitudes towards drug legalization was scores on the SOI. By contrast, nonsexual variables typically associated with attitudes towards drug legalization were strongly attenuated or eliminated when controlling for SOI and other sexuality-related measures.
These findings were replicated in Belgium, Japan, and the Netherlands. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: Flirting. Main article: Dating. Main article: Matchmaking. See also: Arranged marriage and Forced marriage. See also: Life history theory. Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology Behavioral and Brain Sciences28 2— Journal of Personality and Social Psychology85 1 Theoretical views, conceptual distinctions, and a review of relevant evidence". Personality and Social Psychology Review5 3— Psychological Bulletin1 Current Directions in Psychological Science20 5— Current Directions in Psychological Science21 2— A2 student book for AQA A psychology 3rd ed.
Oxford: Oxford University Press. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology72, — Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality2, 39— Behavioral and Brain Sciences17, — The Atlantic. Retrieved 7 August Psychological Review2 Behavioral and Brain Sciences12 11— Personality and Individual Differences39 2— American Psychologist54 6 Psychological Science23 10— Psychological Inquiry17 275— When the difference is in the details: a critique of Zentner and Mitura " Stepping out of the caveman's shadow: Nations' gender gap predicts degree of sex differentiation in mate preferences".
Evolutionary psychology: an international journal of evolutionary approaches to psychology and behavior, 10 4— Evolutionary foundations of cultural variation: "Evoked culture and mate preferences". Behavioral and Brain Sciences23 04— Journal of Personality and Social Psychology60 6 Journal of Personality60 131— Journal of Research in Personality31 2— That is, a gender by money priming interaction on participants' satisfaction with their partners' physical attractiveness would be significant.
However, such a gender by money priming interaction would not be observed for participants' satisfaction ratings on their partners' resources. A total of undergraduate and postgraduate students women, 61 menprimarily from universities in Beijing, China, participated in this study. Their ages ranged from 18 to 27, with a mean of All of the participants were heterosexual and involved in a dating relationship during the survey period.
The length of their ongoing relationships ranged from 2 months to 7 years, with a mean of We employed the money-priming method used by Nelson and Morrison to induce the relatively rich or poor feeling. Participants were randomly assigned to the relatively wealthy or relatively poor condition and were asked to respond to some questions about financial status.
The response scale was in fact different between the two conditions. For example, one question was about the amount of money in their savings accounts: Participants in the relatively wealthy condition provided ratings on a 7-point scale divided into much smaller increments i. We expected that most of the participants in the relatively wealthy condition would choose the highest amount of money and that those in the relatively poor condition would choose the bottom of the scale.
Participants receiving such a money-priming manipulation generally believe that the scale is constructed on the basis of the distribution of the actual income of college students and that the top of the scale reflects the highest level of income and the bottom reflects the lowest Schwarz, Therefore, we expected that the relatively wealthy group would be relatively satisfied with their personal financial status, whereas the relatively poor group would be less satisfied.
Following the money primes, participants were asked to complete a measure of satisfaction with their romantic partners and to answer demographic questions about gender, age, and monthly income. The scale of satisfaction with a romantic partner consisted of two dimensions, physical attractiveness and resources, which were adapted from the short version of Fletcher et al.
When Love Meets Money: Priming the Possession of Money Influences Mating Strategies
Due to time constraints, we shortened the scale by selecting four items in each dimension with the highest item-total correlations. Some of the items were modified because they were unsuitable for college students.
The reliability coefficient was 0. The first set of results is on the manipulation check, which examines whether the money priming method is effective. The second set presents descriptive statistics of the study variables. This finding suggested that the money-priming method was successful. Means and standard deviations of the dependent variables by gender and experimental condition for Study 1 and Study 2.
Scale ranges from 1 to 9 for satisfaction with a partner's physical attractiveness and resources and from 1 to 5 for distance.
Given the possible influences of actual income Rogers, on relationship outcomes, we controlled for its effect on the dependent variables statistically. Specifically, we used an ANCOVA to examine the influence of the subjective feeling of the amount of money one possesses on individuals' satisfaction with their partners' physical attractiveness after controlling for the potential confounding effects of actual income on the dependent variable.
Money-priming condition and participant gender served as between-subject factors. Simple effect analysis demonstrating the moderating effect of gender on the influence of the feeling of having relatively more or less money on satisfaction with a partner's physical attractiveness. Actual income was included in the analysis as a covariate. Error bars represent standard errors of the mean. Similarly, an ANCOVA was used to examine the influence of the subjective feeling of the amount of money one possesses on individuals' satisfaction with their partners' resources after controlling for the potentially confounding effects of actual income on the dependent variable.
characteristics, personality, education and income on their dating, mating Key words: evolutionary psychology; sexuality; social and personal relationships. Evolutionary psychologists who study mating behavior often begin with a hypothesis about how modern humans mate: say, that men think. Dating and Mating: The Social Psychology of Attraction and Romantic Relationships, by Madeleine A Fugere, Ph.D.
This suggests that, for both men and women, the feeling of having relatively more or less money does not affect individuals' satisfaction with partners' resources.
In summary, results of Study 1 supported our major hypothesis. The men who subjectively felt that they had relatively more money perceived a greater discrepancy between their ideal and their current partners in terms of physical appearance and were less satisfied with their partners than those who felt they had less money, but this effect did not occur in women.
This result is consistent with Yong and Li's finding that men increase their requirement for a potential partner's physical attractiveness when primed with larger resources, while with the same resources prime, women do not change their standards. In Study 2, we examined whether priming the possession of money would influence the use of specific mating strategies in an extra-pair mating context in which committed participants were led to believe that they would have an encounter with an attractive person of the opposite sex.
In this study, we used a mental simulation method to prime the feeling of having relatively more or less money. This mental simulation procedure has been frequently employed to generate a psychological state. For example, Vohs et al. Slightly different from previous studies, we provided an incomplete essay and asked participants to fill in the blanks by using their imagination on the computer.
We expected that the fill-in-the-blanks task would lead the participants to engage in deeper cognitive processing leading to the creation of self-related information rather than just reading Craik and Lockhart,thus effectively generating the relatively rich or poor feelings. We set up an extra-pair mating situation by arranging a fictitious encounter with an attractive member of the opposite sex.
We examined whether the feeling of having relatively more or less money would change the tendency of the dating individuals to approach the attractive alternative. This tendency to approach may reflect the likelihood of the individuals using the extra-pair mating strategy.
Similar to Lydon et al. We expected that this behavioral measure would exclude the interference of social desirability and induce a more realistic and genuine response Fazio and Olson, We also measured the emotional state of the participants at the end of the experiment to exclude the possibility that the observed effects were caused by immediate emotion. In summary, two hypotheses were proposed:. H1: Individuals who feel they have relatively more money would sit closer to an attractive alternative than those who feel they have relatively less money.
Dating and mating psychology
H2: Gender would moderate the relation between the feeling of having relatively more or less money and the distance in such a way that the effect of the feeling on the distance would be stronger for men than for women.
In this study, the participants were undergraduate and postgraduate students 48 women, 73 men primarily from universities in Beijing, China.
Their ages ranged from 18 to 30, with a mean of The length of their ongoing relationships ranged from 2 months to 8 years, with a mean of Their monthly income varied from to RMB, with a mean of We performed a pilot study to examine the effectiveness of the money prime before the experiment.
The feeling of having relatively more or less money was triggered by asking participant to imagine being in a rich or poor situation and filling in some blanks to complete a story. Specifically, 56 participants 17 men, 37 women were randomly assigned to two manipulations. This suggests that the money priming method is valid. A few days before the actual experiment, the participants provided demographic information, including age, gender, relationship status, and monthly income. Upon arrival at the laboratory, they were told that the experiment consisted of an imagination test and an investigation related to social perception aiming to make a comparison between an impression formed by looking at a photograph and an impression formed by a face-to-face interaction.
The arrangement of a face-to-face interaction was used to make participants believe that there was an opportunity to encounter an attractive member of the opposite sex, but this did not actually happen. After the participants finished imagining a rich or poor life, we showed them a photograph of an attractive person of the opposite sex. After the evaluation, participants were led to the next room, which had a long desk and six chairs. For half of the participants, a bag, a coat, and a book occupied the position closest to the door at one end of the group of chairs, while for the other half of the participants, these items were placed at the position furthest from the door at the other end of the group of chairs.
Thus, we controlled for the influence of distance from this position to the door on the participants' choices. Participants were told that the person they would be talking to had been sitting on the seat with the items and would come back soon. They were asked to take a seat and wait for a moment. Their chair choice represented their chosen distance from the attractive alternative.
We then assessed whether the participants were suspicious of the cover story.
Three participants were removed from the subsequent analyses because of their suspicions. Finally, we debriefed the participants. PANAS consists of a positive affect scale and a negative affect scale. Three sets of results are presented below. First, descriptive statistics of the study variables are presented. Second, an ANCOVA is employed to examine the effect of money priming on the distance the participants chose to sit away from the attractive alternative and the moderating effect of gender.
In the third section, we present findings on whether emotion might have influenced the participants' choice of seat. We conducted an ANCOVA to test the influence of the feeling of having more or less money on the distance the participants chose to sit away from the attractive alternative and the moderating effect of gender.
Actual income and the bag's position in the experimental arrangement were considered covariates. Money-priming condition and participant gender served as between-subjects factors. Thus, the feeling of having relatively more money motivates individuals to approach attractive alternatives more closely than the feeling of having relatively less money does.
In other words, individuals who feel they have relatively more money seem to be more likely to use the extra-pair mating strategy than those who feel they have relatively less money.
To test whether the differences in the tendency to approach an attractive alternative were caused by emotion, we conducted a t -test to compare the differences in positive mood and negative mood across conditions. Next, we followed Dienes' procedure and calculated a Bayes factor to check whether the differences of mood between the two conditions were really nonsignificant.
PANAS is a 1—5 likert scale and the difference between conditions cannot be more than four. Results showed that the likelihood of the data given the theory was 0. For negative mood, the sample mean was 0. The Bayes factors were less than a third, so there was substantial evidence for nonsignificant differences of mood between the two conditions, indicating that the differences in approach tendency between the two conditions were not due to emotion.
Taking all of our results together, we did not find the hypothesized moderating effect of gender on the influence of the subjective feeling of the amount of money one possesses on individuals' tendency to approach the attractive alternative, suggesting that both men and women with relatively more money are more likely to choose the extra-pair mating strategy than those with less money.
However, we did find that the men selected a closer seat to the attractive member of the opposite sex than the women in both the relatively wealthy and relatively poor conditions.
This result is consistent with previous findings that committed women are more likely to distance themselves from the opposite sex than men Lydon et al. In the current studies, we used money-priming strategies to create the feeling of having relatively more or less money and examined how this feeling influences individuals' mating strategies.
Our results showed that the feeling of having relatively more money caused the men, but not the women, to feel less satisfied with their partners' physical appearance and led both the men and women to approach an attractive member of the opposite sex more closely than if they felt they had relatively less money. Generally speaking, these findings are consistent with the evolutionary proposition that individuals adopt conditional mating strategies in response to environmental conditions such as resource cues Gangestad and Simpson, Differences in the amount of money possessed cause significant variation in mating strategies within each gender.
For men, the within-sex differences derive from the difference in their perceived mate value. For women, access to money might induce different reproductive benefit-cost analyses and the variance in the relative importance of a mate's good genes over parental investment. In other words, in ancient times, both men and women might tend to make an adaptive trade-off to maximize their reproductive benefits.
Expert Advice on Dating and Mating The authors are therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists with or without Ph.D.-s, occasionally MD-s. Keywords: money, mating strategy, long term, short term, romantic relationship of human mating and enrich the literature on evolutionary psychology. Next . All of the participants were heterosexual and involved in a dating. In evolutionary psychology and behavioral ecology, human mating strategies are a set of or as a spouse. Dating rules may vary across different cultures, and some societies may even replace the dating process by a courtship instead.
Interestingly, we did not find that women would make higher demands regarding men's physical appearance when they were primed to feel relatively wealthy. One possible reason for this is that individuals' mate preferences could be conditional on their self-perceived mate value. Furthermore, self-perceived mate value is sex specific. Men's mate value is based more on resources than women's mate value, while women's mate value depends more on physical attractiveness than men's mate value.
Therefore, the difference in self-perceived resources generates the difference in men's partners' satisfaction with their partners' physical appearance, while for women, the effect is much smaller. An alternative explanation could be that possession of money plays a significant role in men's intrasexual competition, whereas women may experience less sexual selection pressure and have less need for intrasexual competition than men.
Thus, compare to men, the effect of money may be less relevant to women. Except that, the selectivity of sample could also contribute to this result. We asked a sample of committed individuals who were already in long-term relationships to give ratings on their current partner's characteristics.
As mentioned earlier, for committed women, making higher demands regarding a current partner might lead to reproductive cost by impairing the stability of the relationships. Thus, relationship status could be a critical factor that influences women's adaptive trade-off. Perhaps, for a similar reason, we did not find any effect of money on women's satisfaction with their partners' resources.
In Study 2, the finding that women chose a seat further away from the attractive member of the opposite sex's seat than the men did may reflect stable gender differences in mating strategies: men generally seek more partners than women to ensure reproductive success Buss and Schmitt, Therefore, men are more likely to grasp every opportunity to approach an alternative mate and engage in extra-pair mating.
However, it is noteworthy that the effects of money on the women's approach tendency toward a romantic alternative were not smaller than the effects on the men's approach tendency. This finding is inconsistent with our hypothesis of the smaller effects for women than for men in this situation because women are stronger protectors of romantic relationships Lydon et al. The behavioral measure used in Study 2 could have contributed to the nonsignificant gender difference in the tendency to approach the attractive alternative under the influence of money.
The self-report results could be biased by social desirability concerns or limitations of self-knowledge. Previous studies have provided evidence that there is discrepancy between self-report and actual choices in mate selection preferences and have suggested drawing conclusions based on self-reported data with caution Todd et al. In the current study, participants were blind to the purpose of the experiment. Being unaware of what was being measured, the women may have failed to hide their attitudes or inhibit their interest in the attractive alternative.
In other words, we observed their actual behaviors instead of self-reports to prevent social desirability or self-knowledge from biasing their responses. This may suggest that women's insistence on loyalty is largely influenced by external norms related to gender roles. Taken together, our findings show that both men and women use mixed mating strategies under different money-priming conditions.
These findings suggest that money does have the potential to influence romantic relationships. Individuals' satisfaction with a current partner and their interest in a romantic alternative are significantly influenced by the amount of money they possess. This suggests that money could be one of the important factors in determining the stability of romantic relationships.
Our findings also imply that the social distancing effect of money found in prior studies e. In the situation with an attractive alternative, money may exert a social engagement effect on both men and women. Despite the interesting causal effects found in our two experiments, the current research has limitations. First, participants in the two studies were college students in dating relationships.
Compared with married couples, dating relationships are generally less committed and less stable. Our findings thus cannot be directly generalized to marital relationships. Future studies should sample married individuals and examine if the money-priming effects can still be found. Second, and more importantly, we did not explore the psychological processes that mediate the influences of money on mating strategies. Future studies should examine whether men's perception of their own worth underlies the effects of money on their satisfaction with their partners and identify the mediators that underlie individuals' approach behaviors toward an attractive alternative.
Third, in Study 2, we failed to find sex differences in the effects of money on individuals' tendency to approach an attractive alternative. Findings from this study are not enough to testify whether the behavioral measure is the reason why women's short-term mating decisions are significantly affected by resources.
Future studies should examine this possibility by comparing the results of behavioral measures and self-reports in similar situations; this would give us a better understanding of how to access individuals' mating choices and allow us to understand these evolutionary mechanisms more accurately. In Study 1, we focused on mate preferences for physical attractiveness and resources because significant gender differences have consistently been found in the two attributes.
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Moreover, Lu et al. Lastly, we did not use the original Ideal Partner Scales in Study 1. We shortened the scale due to the fast and short-lived priming effect Hermans et al. We also modified some items in order to make them more suitable for our Chinese student samples. Although the reliability coefficients of the revised scales were found to be acceptable, the psychometric properties of such shortened scales should be further examined in future studies.
Given its ubiquitous presence in daily life, money has been found to exert a significant impact on our romantic relationships. The current studies focused on mating strategies and explored how money induces individuals' mating decisions in long-term and extra-term contexts under the framework of evolutionary psychology.
Findings from our two experiments reveal that the feeling of having relatively more or less money could cause differences in mating strategies, implying that people may adjust their strategies to environmental conditions. From the perspective of evolution, these conditional mating strategies serve as solutions to the adaptive problems our ancestors faced in ancient times.
These psychological mechanisms still play important roles in human mating.
The practical implication of our findings is to remind people to pay attention to the potential changes brought about by changes in the amount of money they possess. In the discussion about relationship problems and solutions, the influence of money could be considered seriously. There is no harm in being vigilant when great changes take place in family or societal economics. Both YL and JL engaged in the design of the research, data collection and analysis, and drafting and revising the work.
DC also participated in the design of the work and data analysis, and revised the paper very critically. BZ participated in the discussion of the experiments, data collection and paper revision. All the authors have approved of the version's publishment and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
National Center for Biotechnology InformationU. Journal List Front Psychol v. Front Psychol. Published online Mar Darius K. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer.
Chan kh. This article was submitted to Evolutionary Psychology and Neuroscience, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology. Received Dec 14; Accepted Mar 4. The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author s or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice.
No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. XLSX 30K. Abstract Money is an important factor that influences the development of romantic relationships. Keywords: money, mating strategy, long term, short term, romantic relationship. Introduction Money is often involved in love stories. Study 1 Study 1 examined whether and how the feeling of having relatively more or less money would influence individuals' satisfaction with their current partners in a long-term relationship.
Our major hypothesis is as follows: Men, not women, who feel they have relatively more money would be less satisfied with their current partners' physical attractiveness than those who feel they have relatively less money. Methods Participants A total of undergraduate and postgraduate students women, 61 menprimarily from universities in Beijing, China, participated in this study. Procedure We employed the money-priming method used by Nelson and Morrison to induce the relatively rich or poor feeling.
Materials Satisfaction with a romantic partner The scale of satisfaction with a romantic partner consisted of two dimensions, physical attractiveness and resources, which were adapted from the short version of Fletcher et al. Results and discussion The first set of results is on the manipulation check, which examines whether the money priming method is effective. Table 1 Means and standard deviations of the dependent variables by gender and experimental condition for Study 1 and Study 2.