Variation in Women’s Mate Preferences Over the Development of a Monogamous Relationship Corresponds with Changes in Men’s Life History Strategy

Owens, Rebecca, Driscoll, Helen and Farrelly, Daniel (2020) Variation in Women’s Mate Preferences Over the Development of a Monogamous Relationship Corresponds with Changes in Men’s Life History Strategy. Evolutionary Psychological Science. ISSN 2198-9885

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Abstract

Much research has examined how men’s mating strategies change over the development of a relationship consistent with predictions from Life History Theory. Specifically, research shows both physiological and behavioural indicators of mating effort decrease once men are mated, and further once they become fathers, unless they remain engaged in mating effort. This switch from mating to parenting effort is sexually selected, and therefore the corresponding shifts in women should be examined, though to date, women’s short- or long-term mate preferences have been studied as separate entities rather than as a transition from short- to long- term. We examined how women’s mate preferences changed over the development of a relationship, to see if they varied consistently with what is known about variation in men’s mating effort. Vignettes detailed four key milestones in the development of a relationship and women rated the importance of the man at each stage displaying indicators of mating or parenting effort. Women increasingly prioritised indicators of parenting effort in men as the relationship developed, consistent with what is known about men’s reduction in mating effort in favour of parenting effort over the development of a relationship. The results support predictions from Life History Theory and highlight the interacting mutually reinforcing nature of sexually selected behaviours.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Psychology > Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Rebecca Owens
Date Deposited: 18 May 2020 08:00
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2020 14:25
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/12047
ORCID for Rebecca Owens: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6630-5216
ORCID for Daniel Farrelly: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1505-686X

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