Environmental Influences on Mate Preferences and Sexual Selection

Anthony Lee (2010). Environmental Influences on Mate Preferences and Sexual Selection Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Anthony Lee
Thesis Title Environmental Influences on Mate Preferences and Sexual Selection
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Zietsch, Brendan
Total pages 72
Abstract/Summary Based on evolutionary theory, previous research has found that environmental factors, such as environmental threats or mating feedback, correlate with shifts in mate preferences or sexual strategy. However, no study to date has attempted to manipulate these environmental factors in a human sample. This was the aim of the current research and two studies were conducted. Study 1 investigated the role of threats in the environment on mate preferences. Female participants (N = 65) were primed with an environmental threat (either a pathogen, resource, or an unrelated threat), then asked to construct their ideal partner by investing points in traits that were either indicative of having “good-genes” or being a “good-dad”. Trends in spending patterns were found in the expected directions; however, the only the difference that was significant was that the pathogen-threat condition invested more in good-genes traits and less in good-dad traits compared to the resource-threat condition. In Study 2, male participants (N = 53) were given positive or negative feedback about their attractiveness in order to determine if mating feedback had an influence on sexual strategy. No significant differences were found however. These findings offer insight into a causal link between environmental factors and human mating behaviours, as well as the nature of these evolved mating mechanisms.

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Created: Thu, 07 Apr 2011, 10:12:09 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Psychology