• Are cognitive processes affected by evolutionary precepts? Iconic memory and mating strategies

      Earl, Nathan B. (2013)
      Evolutionary psychologists criticize cognitive psychology for using arbitrary stimuli that ignore presumed evolutionary constraints on cognition. In two experiments, we explored how the Sperling paradigm in iconic memory was influenced by factors often stressed in evolutionary psychology: facial attractiveness and gender of visual targets, as well as gender of the participants. Ancillary measures used by some evolutionary psychologists studying mating strategies, scores on Sociosexuality and Jealousy scales, were also taken. In Experiment I, pictures of human faces were superimposed over letter matrices: 10 each of attractive males, attractive females, average males and average females. All faces used in both studies had been used in previously published reports of evolutionary influences on cognitive processing. In Experiment I, the Sperling effect was replicated, with Partial Report superior to Whole Report; no other factors affected performance. In Experiment II, the saliency of the factors related to evolutionary psychology was increased by using only one attractive female face and one attractive male face, repeatedly. Controls included the standard Original, blank background, and a non-facial object, a Flower. While the overall Sperling effect was replicated again, there was some disruption of the Sperling effect, with females showing no Partial advantage. Males retained the Partial advantage for both attractive pictures, but they, like the female participants, showed no Partial advantage for the Flower. Aside from one minor correlation, the Sociosexuality and Jealousy scales were not predictive of performance in either study. In sum, in rapid cognitive processing, precepts of evolutionary psychology did not have a differential effect on cognition. Results are discussed in terms of procedural differences between this traditional cognitive task and those devised by evolutionary psychologists.
    • Deception-detection and trust as major elements of mating-relevant behavior

      Tauber, Briana R. (2014-05)
      From an evolutionary perspective, there is nothing more important than mating and reproductive success. According to modern evolutionary psychology, humans have evolved various adaptive mating-related traits, which include ideas based on parental investment theory (Trivers, 1972), life history strategy (Figueredo et al., 2006), strategic pluralism (Gangestad & Simpson, 2000), and sexual strategies (Buss & Schmitt, 1993) for reproductive success. Mating intelligence (MI) can be defined as the cognitive processes (conscious or unconscious) that underlie successful mating-relevant interactions and outcomes (Geher & Kaufman, 2011). It has been proposed that performance in MI can predict one’s likelihood of attracting a viable mate, thus predicting reproductive success (Geher, Miller, & Murphy, 2008). However, currently only a self-report scale of MI exists (Geher & Kaufman, 2007). Although this study was originally aimed to develop an ability-based measurement of MI (which would allow us to tap an individual’s actual abilities that may lead to reproductive success), exploratory analysis of the data proved to be most fruitful in the realm of mating-relevant deception-detection and correlates related to one’s tendency toward trusting others.
    • Effortful or natural? Which athletic traits are most attractive?

      Shimkus, Andrew (2015)
      The current research sought to investigate the influence of athletic efforts on how one is perceived as a potential short and long-term mate. When conscientiousness, which is the ability to exert self-control in the process of attaining a long-term goal (Nettle, 2006), was displayed in an athlete through a vignette, it was predicted that the athlete would be preferred as a long-term mate, whereas a naturally talented athlete would be preferred as a short-term mate. After exposure to this vignette of a college basketball player displaying his/her diligence or inherent talent, and answering a number of questions regarding his/her attractiveness as a potential mate, it was found that mating preferences on athletes partially coincide with existing literature on gender-differentiated mating behavior, despite none of the hypotheses being fully supported. Moreover, being diligent in one’s efforts in athletics positively promotes perceptions of various characteristics, such as intelligence, health, liveliness, and dominance.
    • An Evolutionary Analysis of Partner Perceptions within Mateships: The Beauty and the Beast Effect, the Role of Trait Factors, and the Nature of Mate Settling

      Dillon, Haley Moss (2011-12)
      Evolutionary psychology brings new interest and excitement to old topics. The study of human mating systems has always been on the academic landscape, but evolutionary theory has recently revived the study of mating strategies through the lens of adaptive qualities. Darwin first explained some traits of mating through the lens of sexual selection, and since his time researchers have sought to further explain the human mating strategy. The current work explores the tenets of evolutionary theory and their application to mate value. The concept of mate settling – a lack of equity within a pair bond is examined through mate value reports as well as mate value discrepancy within couples.The current work examined mate value through the use of the Mate Value Inventory (Kirsner, Figueredo, & Jacobs, 2003) as well as a subjective physical attractiveness item, and an objective physical attractiveness item. Mate value was shown to be affected by biological sex, mating intelligence, narcissism, life history strategy, and operational sex ratio.
    • Hypothesized fitness indicators and mating success

      Camargo, Michael A. (2007-09-25)
      This study will attempt to create a valid measure of mating success (a proxy for reproductive success), which focuses on the quality of a person’s most recent long-term and short-term sexual relationship from an evolutionary perspective. Additionally, this thesis will test many hypotheses put forth by Miller’s (2000b) ‘fitness-indicator theory.’ Results suggest that this new measure of mating success is highly reliable and correlates with female fluctuating asymmetry. Furthermore, the data do not support Miller’s ‘fitness-indicator theory,’ and instead shows support for the ‘trade-off hypothesis.’ Finally, the data revealed that an individual’s self-perceived desirability is dependent upon one’s IQ level and one’s preference for either short or long-term sexual relationships.
    • Is he the one?: courtship as a mechanism to predict male long-term commitment

      Freuman, Ari (2012-09)
      Human courtship is a process whereby one tries to seek the affections of another, usually with the intent of marriage (Merriam-Webster, 2012). In modern society, courtship appears to be a universal precursor to marriage: In nearly all marriages (or other formal romantic unions), males provide some form of courtship, lasting from several weeks to years (Surra, 1985). Courtship can take several forms, but in the context of long-term mating, it is nearly always characterized by a male who invests his time or resources toward a female (Surra, 1985). Although, in specific contexts females may court males though specific courtship display (Geher & Miller, 2007), this study focuses on the courtship of females by males.
    • Mating Intelligence, Machiavellianism, and Self-Monitoring as Predictors of the Recognition of and Participation in Behaviors Associated with Mental Fitness Indicators

      Diffenderfer, Jason (2007-10-02)
      Miller (2000) and Buss (2004) suggest that the human mind has evolved its complex qualities to make beneficial mating decisions for the individual and, more generally, to attract and retain mates. According to Miller (2000), mental fitness indicators are the outward displays of the complexity of a person’s brain. Mental fitness indicators are expressed in the form of artistic, musical, communication, and altruistic behaviors. The present study examined mating intelligence, which is the ability of people to make adaptive mating choices (Geher, Murphy & Miller, 2007), Machiavellianism, and selfmonitoring as possible predictors of an individual’s ability to recognize potential fitness indicators that are valued by potential mates and his or her participation in behaviors associated with mental fitness indicators. It was hypothesized that mating intelligence, Machiavellianism and self-monitoring would be positively related to an individual’s recognition and engagement in behaviors associated with mental fitness indicators. The results suggest that mating intelligence is related to an individual’s ability to recognize the artistic, musical, communication, and altruistic behaviors that are desired by potential mates. Future studies should be conducted to examine the complex relationships between mental fitness indicators and personality constructs.
    • Variability in mating strategies: do individual differences in dispositional traits predict sexual preferences?

      Peterson, Ashley (2011-12-27)
      Prior research by evolutionary psychologists has examined dispositional predictors, such as personality, sociosexuality, life history, and attachment style, in relation to mating, yet only one study has examined how these traits predict an individual‘s sexual preferences (i.e., Peterson, Geher, & Kaufman, 2011). Thus, the current study, extending the research of Peterson, Geher, and Kaufman (2011), examined previous studied dispositional predictors, including the Big Five, sociosexuality, life history, and mating intelligence, and three additional ones, attachment, sex drive, and disgust sensitivity. A sample of 638 participants completed a battery of measures of each of these traits as well as providing information about their sexual preferences. The traits predicted variability in sexual preferences – with the attachment dimensions, avoidance and anxiety, and sex drive being most predictive. In addition, sex differences emerged (e.g., males reported enjoying most of the sex acts more than females). Discussion focuses on (a) comparing the results of the current study with Peterson, Geher, and Kaufman (2011), (b) sex differences in preferences for the sex acts, and (c) attachment, sex drive, and disgust sensitivity as predictors of sexual preferences.