University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

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

Owens, R., Driscoll, H. and Farrelly, Daniel ORCID: (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, 6. pp. 399-406. ISSN Online: 2198-9885

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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
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: life history theory, mate preferences, mating effort, sexual selection, IRWRG
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Psychology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Daniel Farrelly
Date Deposited: 19 May 2020 10:15
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2023 10:17

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