Evolutionary explanations for partner preferences

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  • Evolutionary explanations for partner preferences
    • sexual selection = evolution driven by mate competition
    • anisogamy = difference in gametes between genders
    • both genders look for: attractiveness
      • Males look for: high waist to hip ratio, youthfulness
      • Females look for: resources, masculine features
    • Short-term mating behaviour
      • Males: mate as much as possible
        • Buss & Schmitt: marked decrease in attraction following copulation
      • Females: select one high quality partner
    • Long-term mating behaviour
      • Genetic quality of mate influences 50% of offspring genes
      • Low quality mate = low quality offspring, genes won't continue (**** sons hypothesis)
    • Key Study: Buss
      • Long-term mating preferences in 10,000, 37 cultures. Rate importance of characteristics
      • Results
        • Resources = highly valued by women
        • Intelligence = valued by both genders, indicates parenting skill
        • Attractiveness & Youth = valued by men, indicated fertility & health
    • Evaluation
      • Clarke & Hatfield: attractive ppl approached strangers at uni and proposed sex
        • Results: No females, 75% males accepted
        • Culture suggests it's socially unacceptable for females to engage in casual sex
      • Wayneforth & Dunbar studied lonely hearts ads
        • Women tended to offer physical attractiveness and indicators of youth
        • Men offered resources, and sought physical attractiveness and youth
      • Culture not evolution?
        • Women denied economic & political power, account for reliance on men for resources?
        • Kasser & Sharma: women value resources more in cultures where status and education = limited
      • Outdated theory
        • Original Clarke & Hatfield study in 1989
          • Women may be more likely to accept nowadays due to wider use of contraception & changing societal views
      • Weaknesses in method = low ecological validity
        • Buss focused on preference, but people may compromise when looking for IRL partner
          • Buss studied IRL marriages which confirmed theory: men choose younger women and remarry younger after divorce


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