During human evolutionary history, there were “trade-offs” between expending time and energy on child-rearing and mating, so both men and women evolved conditional mating strategies guided by cues signaling the circumstances. Many short-term matings might be successful for some men; others might try to find and keep a single mate, investing their effort in rearing her offspring. Recent evidence suggests that men with features signaling genetic benefits to offspring should be preferred by women as short-term mates, but there are trade-offs (...) between a mate's genetic fitness and his willingness to help in child-rearing. It is these circumstances and the cues that signal them that underlie the variation in short- and long-term mating strategies between and within the sexes. Key Words: conditional strategies; evolutionary psychology; fluctuating asymmetry; mating; reproductive strategies; sexual selection. (shrink)
In this commentary, we attempt to broaden thinking and dialogue about how our ancestral past might have affected attachment and reproductive strategies. We highlight the theoretical benefits of formulating specific predictions of how different sources of stress might impact attachment and reproductive strategies differently, and we integrate some of these ideas with another recent evolutionary model of human mating.
The authors present a balanced critique of the adaptation/exaptation debate and specify some of the hard evidentiary criteria that are needed to advance our understanding of human evolution. Investigators must build more “special design” criteria into their theorizing and research. By documenting that certain traits meet these rigorous criteria, the evolutionary sciences will ultimately rest on a firmer theoretical foundation.
Human mating and parenting are more complex than has been implied by many evolutionarily based theories of sex differences. While focusing on sex differences might shed some light on the evolution of mating and parenting, this level of analysis is rather imprecise. More important, it ignores several ecological variables that should have influenced mating/parenting decisions and behaviors in both sexes.
This response reinforces several major themes in our target article: (a) the importance of sex-specific, within-sex variation in mating tactics; (b) the relevance of optimality thinking to understanding that variation; (c) the significance of special design for reconstructing evolutionary history; (d) the replicated findings that women's mating preferences vary across their menstrual cycle in ways revealing special design; and (e) the importance of applying market phenomena to understand the complex dynamics of mating. We also elaborate on three points: (1) Men (...) who have indicators of genetic fitness may provide more direct benefits when female demand for extra-pair and short-term sex is very low; (2) both men and women track ecological cues to make mating decisions; and (3) more research on female orgasm is needed. (shrink)
Two studies examined the link between social dominance and male waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). Groups of four men interacted in a leaderless group discussion. In both studies, men with higher WHRs (associated with current and long-term health status) were rated by other group members as behaving more leader-like when an observer was present, and rated themselves as being more assertive. In Study 2, men with higher WHRs were rated by independent observers as behaving more dominantly, but only when the evaluator was (...) present. These results are discussed in terms of evolutionary models of health, attraction, and intrasexual competition. (shrink)