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PSYA3: Relationships

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Dominic Hickman

on 10 June 2013

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Transcript of PSYA3: Relationships

Relationships The Formation, Maintenance and Breakdown of Romantic Relationships Evolutionary Explanations of Human Reproductive Behaviour The Effects of Early Experience and Culture on Adult Relationships Theories of Maintenance: - Social Exchange Theory
-Equity Theory Theories of Formation: - Social Exchange Theory & The matching hypothesis (Thibaut and Kelley, 1959)
- The Filter Model (Kerckhoff and Davis, 1962)
- The Reward/Need Satisfaction Model (Byrne and Clore, 1970) Theories of the Breakdown of Relationships: - Stages in the breakdown of relationships (Lee, 1984)
- Theory of relationship dissolution, TORD (Duck, 1988) The Relationship Between Sexual Selection and Human Reproductive Behaviour Sex Differences in Parental Investment The Influence of Childhood on Adult Relationships The Influence of Culture on Romantic Relationships Social Exchange Theory & The Matching Hypothesis Thibaut and Kelley (1959) Social Exchange Theory: - People are more likely to become romantically involved if they are closely matched in their ability to reward one another.
- Everyone is selfish and wants their 'perfect partner', but this is impossible so compromises are made ( Compromise Solution ).
- The best bargain that can be struck is a value-match ( Finding someone who we subjectively believe is the most rewarding we could realistically find.
- Matching can take place on many variables: Attractiveness, Wealth, Intelligence, Education.
- Mismatched couples (physically) balance out in other variables, what someone lacks in A they make up for in B. Matching Hypothesis: Walster et al (1966) - People are attracted to others who have a similar level of physical attractiveness to their own. Evidence: Murstein (1972) Procedure:
- Photographs of the faces of 'steady or engaged' couples were compared with random couples.
- The real couples were consistently judged to be more similar to each other in physical attractiveness than the random pairs.
- 'Individuals with equal market value for physical attractiveness are more likely to associate in an intimate relationship such as engagement, than individuals with disparate values'. Walster et al (1966) Computer Dance Study Procedure:
- 752 fresher students from the University of Minnesota as participants. Told that on the basis of a questionnaire they would be partnered with an ideal date for the dance. Pairings were in fact made at random by a computer. Students were also ( unbeknown to them ) rated for their physical attractiveness. They were asked how they liked their 'date' and how much they wanted to go out with them again.
- Physical attractiveness was the single biggest predictor of how much each date had been enjoyeddespite being in each others company for several hours. The desire for aother date was determined by the attractiveness of the woman, irrespective of the attractiveness of the male.
- Clearly males wanted the best lookers, whatever their own attractiveness rating was, giving evidence against the matching hypothesis
- Overall attractiveness prevails over equal attractiveness. Walster and Walster (1969) Procedure:
- Carried out a study the same as the computer dance but this time allowed studets to meet each other first and state what hind of dating partner they wanted (Physically).
- This made a critical difference, as students now chose someone of comparable physical attractiveness to themselves, supporting the matching hypothesis. The findings from these studies imply that the kind of partner we would be satisfied with, is one that won't reject us, rather than one we positively desire. Brown (1986) argues that the matching phenomenon results from a well-learned sense of what's 'fitting' rather than a fear of being rebuffed. Evaluation: Duck (1984) argues that the 'Magnetic Metaphor' of attraction implies that people are unwittingly, and almost against their will, pulled towards one another's inherent, pre-existing characteristics. It is a view of relationships that ignores the interactions between individuals and their shared understandings. White (1980) - In a study of dating couples, those that were most similar in physical attractiveness were most likely, 9 months later to have fallen more deeply in love. The Filter Model Kerckhoff and Davis (1962) Theory: - People rely on a number of social and personal factors to filter potential relationships from the 'field of eligibles' (all those whom we might potentially form a relationship with).
- People narrow down this 'field' through a series of selection filters.
- Different criteria tend to be used at different stages and to some extent our choice of friends and partners is made for us.
- Initial filters include: Proximity, race, class, religion. Social Variables reduce the 'field of availables', Kerckhoff (1974), that is, the range of people available for us to meet.
- There is considerable pre-selection of the types of people we come into contact with (field of availables), namely those from our own social groups, these are the people we are most likely to find attractive initially, since similarity makes communication easier as there is immediate common ground. Also proximity leads to exposure which leads to familiarity which leads to liking. At this stage attraction has little to do with other people's individual characteristics.
- The next 'filter' involves the psychological characteristics of individuals, specifically agreement on basic values. Evidence: Proximity, Familiarity and Liking - Proximity kindles liking. Most people marry someone who lives in the same neighborhood, works at the same company or sits in the same class (Clarke, 1952)
- It is not geographical distance that is critical but 'functional distance' - (How often our paths cross)
- Why does proximity result in liking? One factor is availability - it is hard to form relationships with people you never meet. Secondly, proximity allows people to exchange rewards. There is also anticipatory liking - the mere expectation that someone will be pleasant and compatible will increase the chances of forming a rewarding relationship
- Finally, there is mere exposure. More than 200 experiments using all different kinds of stimulus material - Chinese characters, musical selections, nonsense syllables, peoples faces - have shown the impact of mere exposure. The more we see something (repeatedly), then the more we like it (unless the repetition is incessant) - Do we like people more because we spend time with them, or do we spend more time with them because we like them Physical Attractiveness - There is support for the idea that physical attractiveness is an important filter in relationship formation - Walster and Walter's (1966) Computer dance study
- However this does not mean that attractiveness outranks all other qualities
- There are large individual differences in the importance of physical attractiveness
- Not only do we view attractive people as likeable, but view likable people as attractive. As you grow to know people they become more attractive - Kletz et al (1987)
- The more in love a woman is with a man, the more physically attractive she finds him - Price et al (1974)
- The more in love people are, the less attractive they find all others of the opposite sex - Simpson et al (1990)
- "The grass may be greener on the other side, but happy gardeners are less likely to notice" Similarity - Considerable evidence to show that similarity is an important filter in forming relationships
- Similarity of values, beliefs, attitudes and ways of thinking are all strong indicators of friendships and attraction - Lea and Duck (1982)
- One study found that the more similar a husband and wife, the more satisfied they tended to be with their marriage, showing similarities importance in the maintenance of relationships
- Kerckhoff and Davis (1962) compared 'short-term couples' (together for less than 18 months) with 'long-term couples' (together for 18 months or more) over a 7 month period. Psychological characteristics of individuals, specifically agreement on basic values, was the best predictor of the relationship becoming more stable and permanent (however in the long-term couples similarity wasn't the most important factor, it was in fact complementarity of emotional needs)
- Boyden et al (1984) found that gay men who scored highly on stereotypical male traits desired a partner who was most of all logical (a stereotypical masculine trait). On the other hand, gay men who scored highly on the stereotypical female traits desired a partner who was expressive (a stereotypical female trait)
- Complementary resources however do not matter - Brehm (1992). Men do seem to give higher priority to looks than women, however women give higher priority to good financial prospects than men
- Buss (1989) concluded that this is something that is embedded deep in our evolutionary history Evaluation: The Reward/Need Satisfaction Model Byrne and Clore (1970) Theory: - It is possible that the reason why we spend so much of our time in romantic relationships is that we find them rewarding (positively reinforcing) or we find life alone unpleasant and unrewarding (negatively reinforcing)
- Other people may reward us directly (operant conditioning), perhaps by meeting our psychological needs, such as the need for friendship, love and sex, etc.
- On the other hand, they may reward us via classical conditioning, in that they are associated with pleasant circumstances or pleasant moods. If we meet someone when we are in a good mood then we may associate that person with our good mood and therefore find them more attractive. If we meet someone when we are in a negative state and they help us escape that state, we may associate them with negative reinforcement
- Therefore one way in which romantic relationships may be formed is because they satisfy our social needs and are reinforcing Research Evidence and Evaluation: The Importance of Affect - Some research has suggested that people may be liked (found rewarding) because they happen to be associated with something pleasant
- For example, May and Hamilton (1980) asked female students to say how much they liked the look of male strangers whose photographs they had. While some students looked at the photographs, pleasant music was played. While others looked at the photographs, unpleasant music was played. As predicted, the students who had heard the pleasant music while looking at photos liked the men best and rated them as better looking Giving and Receiving Reward - Cate et al (1982) asked 337 individuals to rate their relationships based on reward level and satisfaction. Reward level was most important
- Hays (1985) found that in examining student friendships, as much value was given to regarding the other person as being rewarded oneself. The key factor was the totality of both giving and receiving, not merely the latter in isolation. Therefore to see romantic relationships purely in terms of what is gained is wrong
- P's in relationships are often more concerned with equity and fairness in rewards and demands than with the desire to maximise their own benefits Many relationships which are more commonly found in non-Western collectivist cultures show little concern for the receipt of reinforcements
- Hill (1970) Showed that kinship bonds are very influential, and are not dependent upon reinforcement It has been shown that in many cultures women are socialised into being more attentive to the needs of others (such as husbands and children), rather than being oriented towards the gratification of their own needs - Lott (1994). Yet you could argue that this 'meeting the needs of others' could be gratifying in itself Evaluation: Although being far too simplistic, this theory does help us to understand some of the factors that influence attraction and the formation of relationships: Proximity, attractiveness, similarity in opinions General Evaluation - Much of the research has been carried out in North America, where a high value is placed on romantic attachment as a basis for marriage and cohabitation. Different cultures put different emphasis on what is important when forming relationships - IDA Cultural Bias
- Much of the research is also highly artificial, 'leaving out most of the things people do in everyday life' - Duck (1999). Research overestimates the importance of physical attractiveness
- Much of the research only focuses on a 'snapshot' of a relationship, one point during its existence, this takes insufficient account of change and variability. (We all have bad days, even in good relationships)
- Lots of the earlier research only focuses on the couples, and takes no account of the influence of third parties, such as families or friends Social Exchange Theory Thibaut and Kelley (1959) Profit and Loss - Payoff Matrices: - Payoff matrices are the calculations of the possible activities a couple could engage in and the profits and losses for each person for all the possible permutations of activities. Profit-Cost=Payoff
- The the outcome of this calculation yields a positive 'value' then the relationship should be successful and maintained, if the calculation yields a negative result then it is not economic for the person to stay in that relationship Comparison Levels: - Thibaut and Kelley recognised the importance of influences outside of the relationship ('reference relationship') and proposed two 'reference' levels:
- CL - Comparison level is essentially the average level of rewards and costs you're used to in relationships, and is the basic level we expect in any future relationship. So if our current reward-cost ratio falls below your CL, the relationship will be unsatisfying. If it is above your CL then the relationship will be satisfying. (It compares the reward-cost ratios of the current relationship and compares it with what we have been used to in the past)
- CL alt - This is concerned will possible alternative relationships. Here we compare the current relationship with others which we could be in. If we feel that we could do better in another relationship, we may be motivated to finish the current one. If our current rewards in a relationship exceeds the CL alt, then we're doing better in it than we could be anywhere else. If the CL alt exceeds our current reward-cost ratio, then we're doing worse than we could be doing elsewhere, the relationship is therefore unsatisfying and unlikely to continue Thibaut and Kelley's (1959) Four-Stage Model of Long Term Relationships: 1.) Sampling - The couple explore the rewards and cost in a variety of relationships
2.) Bargaining - The couple 'cost out' the relationship and identify sources of profit and loss
3.) Commitment - The couple settle into a relationship. The exchange of rewards becomes relatively predictable
4.) Institutionalisation - The interactions are established. The couple have 'settled down' Evaluation: Sees people as fundamentally selfish and human relationships as based primarily on self-interest Our attitudes towards other people are determined a lot by the rewards they give us - Rubin (1973). Yet this doesn't mean SET is an adequate theory as most human beings are often truly altruistic in relationships - the make sacrifices for the sake of others without any consideration of the rewards they will obtain from them in return Clark (1980) - Identified two types of intimate relationship:
The Communal Couple - in which partners give out of concern for each other
The Exchange Couple - In which each partner keeps a mental record of who's 'ahead' and who's 'behind' Murstein et al (1977) argue that concern with rewards, exchange and equity is negatively correlated with marital adjustment. Equity Theory Homans (1974) - Derived from SET by modifying several aspects, still quite similar to SET only less concerned with profit and more concerned with investment Theory: - Less concerned with profit, more concerned with investment. Couples revolve around fairness.
- Equity is a constant ratio of rewards to costs or profit to investment. It is changes to this ratio that change how you feel about your relationship
- An individual may believe that it is fair that they give more than they get in a relationship, but if they start giving much more and getting proportionally less then they are likely to become dissatisfied.
- Messick and Cook (1983) say that we strive to achieve fairness in relationships and feel distressed if unfairness is perceived, whether the unfairness is in our favour or against us. Walster et al (1978) 4 key principles of Equity Theory: 1.) People try to maximise their rewards and minimise negative experiences within any relationship
2.) The distribution of rewards is negotiated to ensure fairness. This may be achieved through trade-offs or compensations (favours)
3.) Unfair (inequitable) relationships produce dissatisfaction. The dissatisfaction is felt by the 'loser', and the greater the perceived unfairness then the greater the sense of dissatisfaction
4.) As long as the 'loser' feels there is a chance of restoring fairness and is motivated to save the relationship, he or she will endeavour to re-establish equity. The greater the degree of inequality, the greater the effort for realignment will be Evidence: Rusbult (1983) Found that when people were deciding whether to end a relationship, not only did they weigh up the rewards and costs of the relationship and the possible alternative relationships available to them, but they also considered how much they had invested in the relationship (anything a person has put into a relationship, that would be lost if it were to end. This may include literal possessions, children's welfare and emotional energy). To test this hypothesis Rusbult asked college students in heterosexual relationships to complete questionnaires over a seven-month period. The p's kept notes on how satisfactory their relationship was, how it compared with possible alternatives and how much they had invested in it. P's also noted how they committed to their relationship they felt and whether it had ended. They found high satisfaction and investment to be important in committed relationships, but a high comparison level for alternatives was more likely to result in a relationship break-up. This supports elements from both SET and ET. Rusbult and Martz (1995) Applied Equity Theory to abusive relationships. They asked women who were living in refuges why they had stayed with abusive partners instead of leaving as soon as the abuse began. Women had felt the greatest commitment to their relationship when their economic alternatives were poor and when their investment was great. Hill et al (1976) Studied 231 steadily dating couples over a two-year period, at the end of which 103 couples had broken up (45%). About 80% of the couples who described themselves as being 'in love' as the start stayed together, compared with the 56% of those who didn't. Of couples in which both members were initially reported being equally invloved in the relationship, only 23% broke up, but where one member was much more involved than the other, 54% broke up. The latter is a highly unstable couple, in which the one who's more involved may feel dependent and exploited, while the one who's less involved may feel restless and guilty. Supports Equity Theory General Evaluation - A lack of consistent empirical support. The research in this area is mixed. The two theories focus only on economic values - Clark and Mills (1979) identified the 'communal couple' and the 'exchange couple', the research is biased towards the exchange couple idea.
- A limited application of equity theory. Hatfield et al (1979) showed that equity theory might be more important for females than for males. Murstein et al (1977) also showed that equity is an issue of concern only in 'problematic' marriages
- Winch (1958) - Happy marriages are often based on each partner's ability to fulfill the needs of the other. E.g a domineering person could more easily satisfy a partner who needs to be dominated than one who is equally domineering.
- A large cultural bias within the research, focused mainly in North America
- Also concerning the research, many of the methodologies are contrived, lending very little ecological validity to the conclusions Stages in the Breakdown of Relationships Lee (1984) Lee (1984): - From a survey of 112 break-ups of premarital romantic relationships, Lee discovered evidence for 5 distinct stages (DENRT)
1.) Partners discover that they are dissatisfied (D) with the relationship
2.) Dissatisfaction is then exposed (E)
3.) Exposure of the dissatisfaction may lead to negotiation (N) with the other partner, concerning the nature of dissatisfaction
4.) Attempts are made to resolve (R) the problem
5.) If attempts to resolve the problem fail, the relationship is terminated (T) - Lee found that exposure and negotiation tended to be experienced as the most intense, dramatic, exhausting and negative aspects of the whole experience.
- In some cases, individuals went straight from dissatisfied to terminated in one leap, these individuals reported less attraction for their partner even when the relationship was satisfactory
- In cases that reported a particularly long ad drawn-out journey from D to T reported more attraction for their former partner and experienced the greatest loneliness following the break up A Model of Relationship Dissolution Duck (1988) - Duck hypothesised that the dissolution of a relationship is not an event that just occurs, to which two partners react. Rather it is a long-term psychological process. There are 4 phases: 1.) Intrapsychic Phase - An individual will be brooding on the fact that the relationship is not satisfactory in some way from his/her perspective. Although complaints may be voiced to other people, the point here is that the persons complained to do not personally know the partner complained of. This stage is mostly to vent, but not to convey to the partner that dissatisfaction is felt. The person will only advance to the next stage is the brooding and venting was not adequate enough to relieve the negative feelings.

2.) Dyadic Phase - The couple is confronted with the dissatisfaction experience by one or both partners such that the dyad needs to discuss and evaluate it. Again, sch discussion may be constructive and might lead to repair or they can be threatening and unpleasant. If the later, then the couple advance to the next stage.

3.) Social Phase - This concerns the social networks in which the couple are embedded - all those other people whose lives intertwine with the couple or one of its members. Such people are not neutral observers but tend to comment on relationships and on the ways in which the are conducted, voicing opinions and common wisdom about how people 'should' react to marital transgressions or to difficulties in relationships. Dyad members urgently consult with their associates to account for the breakdown of the relationship or receive advice on how to stay together and deal with the difficulties. At this point however, the breakdown becomes a social event and therefore official. Should the relationship end here then many other relationships ( partners friends, family, work associates) will also end. Rarely does a relationship end that has no consequence for anyone else.

4.) Grave-Dressing Phase - An important and under-recognized feature of the breakup of relationships is the need for people to publish a record of the relationship and its death. For various psychological and social reasons people need to justify themselves to other people and, in particular, to offer an account of the breakup that shows them in a favourable light relative to relational standards in the society. Such stories place the speak in a good light that does not negatively affect their 'face' for future relationships. These may not be an accurate account of the breakup but designed to make an individual look thinking, mature or even innocent General Evaluation - Both theories are valid in the way they see relationship breakdown as a process and not an event
- They are again valid in the way they recognise different point in time during the breakdown may have different characteristics and effects
- Duck's theory has the benefit of considering the wider social context of relationship breakdown
- Both theories are very general and lack information of the specifics of relationship breakdown
- Both are over-simplistic and methodologically reductionist. By trying to describe relationship breakdown in a series of stages, they fail to account for the enormous variation that exist between people. Both also suggest a fixed sequence, but this is not the case.
- Both are poor at considering all other variables that contribute to whether a relationship breaks down. Particularly the role played by interpersonal communication and conflict-resolution skills. Maybe a better theory of RB could come from looking at communication and behavioural patterns and how they contribute to relationship success. Bradbury and Fincham (1990) - Happy couples and unhappy couples resolve conflict in typically different ways, which are linked to different attributional patterns
- Happy couples use a relationship-enhancing pattern to resolve conflict whereas unhappy couples use a distress-maintaining pattern. Noller and Fitzpatrick (1990) - Meta-analysis of 115 studies of 45000 couples
- Found that unhappy couples disagree, command, criticise and put down
- Happy couples more often agree, approve, aseent and laugh
- It is not the case that happy couples are devoid of conflict, they just deal with it in a better way - in successful marriages positive interactions outnumber negative ones by 5:1 - There is a general failure to consider gender differences. For example men and women seem to differ in their perception of problems in a relationship - generally women report more problems, and there is evidence to suggest that the degree of female dissatisfaction is a better predictor than a males unhappiness of whether a relationship will en or not. This could be that women are more sensitive to relationship problems than men, alternatively women and men may be entering relationships with different expectations with men's being fulfilled to a greater extent
- Both theories fail to consider wider social factors influencing relationship breakdown - women continue to do the bulk of childcare and domestic labour in relationships
- When there is any reporting to be done on relationships, as they are so full of emotion, it will be incredibly subjective and effected by emotional states at the time and in the past
- As with formation and maintenance, there are also cultural differences to be considered, that are not accounted for in these theories. Bank et al (1990) - The Glop Problem - When you ask one person to self-report on a variety of things - for example if you ask a person going through a relationship breakdown to report on how they are getting on with their spouse, how they are coping and what factors are involved, they report connections between things that might not actually exist. Divorcing couples are so preoccupied with their divorce that they attribute all problems and sadness in their life to it. Self-report studies therefore give the impression that marital difficulties are associated with lots of other variables when, in fact, they aren't. Nye (1988) - Unhappily married couples are known to endorse nearly every negative trait as characteristic of their spouses - Negative Halo Effect
- Whereas happily married couples are known to endorse nearly every positive trait as characteristic of their spouses - Positive Halo Effect Mating Effort Men Choose Youth Women Choose Resources Chastity and Jealousy Infidelity and Adultery Faces Bodies Monogamy or Polygyny? Homosexuality - SS Theory predicts that men will be more promiscuous than women, seeking more sexual encounters and having a bigger appetite for sex in an attempt to impregnate as many women as possible. This is so that males have a greater chance to pass on their genes into the next generation. Women on the other hand are more chaste, spend more time picking their sexual partners and are more choosy about who they mate with. Men compete and women choose. By being choosy women ensure that their offspring are of high genetic quality and that they will be supported through a males resources. The reason for the male strategy is the vast number of sperm they produce, with no limit on how many children they can have - quantity over quality. Women however can only have a few offspring (max 10) and they must heavily invest in them to ensure their survival - subsequently having to make careful mate choices. Women are the 'limiting sex'. These mechanisms have evolved. For example another male mechanism that has been supported by evidence is that they show a marked decrease in attraction to their partner following sex, suggested to bring about a hasty departure which prevents them from spending too log with one woman. McCormick (1994) reports that the vast majority of prostitutes in all cultures are women and male prostitutes mainly service gay clients. Most men who go to prostitutes are already in ongoing sexual relationships. This appears to support evolutionary theory because prostitution offers men a way of coping with irges that evolutionary pressure has selected for. Male preference for sexual variety is also manifested in the extensive use of pin-ups in male magazines like Loaded and FHM ad in the high sales of soft-porn men's magazines. Where similar attempts have been made to produce magazines for women with photos of nude men, they have either failed or have largely tended to be purchased by gay men. However is sexual selection to blame for these facts? It is possibly that men internalise social expectations that in order to be successfully masculine, they should express constant interest in heterosexual sex. Most women on the other hand have internalised the idea that 'nice girls don't'. Evolutionary psychologists would argue that these cultural norms are themselves a reflection of evolutionary pressures. However a new generation of casually promiscuous females has arisen, showing that genes at most alter probabilities but cannot determine outcomes (if SS theory is correct). - For males selecting females, youth is important because youth equals fertility. In the past those that selected younger women were more reproductively successful and this preference has its roots in genes. Young women are at their 'peak reproductive value'. Men therefore rely on a woman's physical appearance in order to estimate their age and health, with younger, healthier women beig percieved as more attractive. Harrison and Saeed (1977) studied lonely hearts adverts and found that women stressed the need for sincerity and genuineness in replies and tended to seek dates with men older than themselves, whereas men sought attractive women who were younger than themselves. Dunbar and McGuiness analysed 600 ads in two London news papers and found that 68% of women described their physical attractiveness in comparison to 51% of men. Yet people in this instance may merely be playing up to social norms and stereotypes when writing adverts. Buss (1989) asked over 10000 people across 33 cultures to rank a variety of traits in terms of importance. The results were: Females were looking for males who could financially provide, were tall, physically strong and healthy, were older than themselves, had qualities such as ambition and industriousness, who had symmetry of face and body. Males were looking for women who were younger than themselves, who were healthy and physically symmetrical, with a good waist-to-hip ratio. In summary buss found that women valued economic resources and financial stability more than men, Men valued only two things more than women did - physical attractiveness and youth. Buss concluded that these sex differences appear to be deeply rooted in the evolutionary history of our species. The fact that these findings were true over 33 cultures does support this also. Buss however conveniently overlooked the fact that 'kind' and 'intelligent' were universally ranked higher than attractiveness or earning potential by both men and women - some researchers have explained the differences in terms of social power. Younger women are easier to control and therefore men favour them. Kenrick et al (1996) reject Buss' hypothesis and found that teenage males are most attracted to women 5 years older than themselves, despite the fact that such women usually show no interest in them. Older women are not easier to control. SS theory would argue that teenagers are attracted to older women somewhat because of their fertility. SS would also predict that females would be expected to lie about their age, alter their appearance and conceal prior sexual encounters, all supported by evidence from Buss (1995). - For women, mate selection is much more focused on finding a provider to take care of them (and their offspring) during pregnancy and afterwards: men who are seen as powerful and who control resources will be seen as especially attractive. Cameron et al (1977) looked at lonely hears adverts. Men tended to sell themselves on characteristics relating to status (income, job) whereas women mentioned physical appearance more ofter. Dunbar and Waynworth (1995) analysed nearly 900 ads in 4 US newspapers. There were cosistent differences in how men and women tried to 'sell' themselves. In the wording of their ads, 50% of women used terms such as 'pretty, curvaceous, gorgeous', but only 34% of males used comparable terms such as 'handsome'. Men were more likely to advertise their economic status and earning power. Men included descriptions of personal wealth 1.7x more often than women. Women demanded wealth 4.5x more often than men. Again a women's desire for a man could just be a culturally learned preference and nothing to do with sexual selection - yet, again these findings are consistent across may cultures and so a purely cultural explanation is not significant. There is however a very plausible social explainable however, that being that women have been forced to obtain desirable resources through men as they have been denied direct access to political and economic power. Yet this social explanation is undermined by findings that financially successful women show an even more marked preference for wealthy men - Wiederman et al (1992) whereas poor men show no greater preference for high income women. Trivers (1985) has shown that American men who marry in a given year earn about 50% more money than unmarried men of the same age, a fact that is probably partly due to female choice for male resources. Willerman (1979) argues that because women have to mate with men before they know their true earning potential, they rely on cues that predict the accumulation of resources such as ambition, industriousness, intelligence - Buss (1989). If SS theory is right, men would be expected to exaggerate their resources, inflate perceptions of their willingness to commit and feign love in order to get females to mate with them. Evidence from Buss (1995) bears this out too. In modern day, polygynous hunter-gatherer societies, the best hunters have the most wives and are also more likely to have extra-marital affairs - Hill and Kaplan (1988) - Evolutionary explanations of human reproductive behaviour may also explain jealousy. The main concern for males appears to be paternity. Although maternity is a certainty, paternity is always a matter of opinion. Men suffer from paternity uncertainty. Males who preferred chaste females in the EEA probably enjoyed greater reproductive sucess than males who were indifferent to this quality. This is because, prior to the use of modern contraception, female chastity would provide a cue to paternity certainty. A man incapable of jealousy may have a greater risk of having an adulterous partner, with a resulting decrease in reproductive sucess. Genes that predispose to male sexual jealousy will therefore have been maintained in humans. Sexual selection predicts that males will place greater value than females on chastity ad this appears to be supported by studies across a range of human cultures. As maternity is never i n doubt, it is likely that females will place a lower value on chastity than males. However, chastity may also provide a cue to the future fidelity of a selected mate, in which case it could be favoured by both sexes. Buss (1989) sampled 33 different cultures and in 62% of those cultures males valued chastity more than females. There were no samples in which females preferred chastity in potential mates more than males. In 14 cultures, no significant differences were found - chastity valued equally by both males and females. However there is great cultural variability in the absolute value placed on chastity - when defined as 'no prior experience in sexual intercourse'. For example it is nearly 3 times as important in China than it is in the US. Sexual jealousy has also been reported to be more intense for men than women - Buss et al (1992) asked participants to imagine different sorts of infidelity by their partners, and to rate which oe distressed them most, as predicted, men rated sexual infidelity as most distressing (45% of men versus 10% of women) and women reported emotional infidelity as the more distressing (90% of women versus 55% of men). - According to SS theory, infidelity has evolved as a human reproductive strategy. This is because it pays off. A man with wife who can bear him 3-5 children, will then benefit from having an extra-marital affair with another man's wife by producing more offspring with her and having her cuckolded husband raise them for him unaware. Studies have shown that in the UK more than 2-% of children are the offspring of males other than their ostensible father. This suggests that infidelity occurs quite a lot. Clarke and Hatfield (1989) (see procedure on sheet) showed that men and women differ considerably in their appetite for sex and inclination to engage in infidelity. Maybe women are more hesitant to engage in casual sex as they face a greater threat from unknown men as opposed to vice versa. Women who refused sex in the study most said they did so to avoid danger, as well as having a partner etc. Yet women still do engage in infidelity so why? Ridley (1993) suggests that there are 3 possible explanations: Adultery is the fault of men, who coerce women into affairs, The frustrations and complexities of modern life and unhappy marriages have introduced this unnatural habit into women, seeking sex outside a marriage without abandoning it may serve to provide high-quality genes from a healthy, attractive and sucessful lover, while maintaining high quality care and support from the husband. Other benefits may be that uncertainty over paternity may sometimes increase the total investment by potential fathers, enhanced status and greater genetic diversity amongst offspring. In addition nit could facilitate mate switching. - People with average and symmetrical faces are rated as most attractive as people with average faces are considered less likely to carry harmful genetic mutations - Little and Hancock (2002). Symmetry is important as it correlates with developmental competence - another indicator of good genes and health. Langois and Roggman (1990) took photos of faces with standard poses, expressions and lighting and then scanned them into a computer. Composites were then produced (constructed by superimposing several individual photographs into one). Composites were constructed from 4, 8, 16 or 32 photos. The more faces that went into the composite the more attractive they were judged to be. This applied to male and female faces. The more faces there were then the more mathematically average and symmetrical they became, peculiarities were ironed out. Females with more child-like faces were also rated more attractive - a child-like faces indicates youth and therefore fertility, making them more attractive mates - Thornhill and Cangestad (1993). Perrett et al (1994) confirms that these findings are consistent across cultures, ruling out any cultural conventions. Males with testosterone-enlarged features such as high cheekbones, strong jaws, strong chins, and large noses are rated as more attractive by females. These characteristics arise as a result of the actions of male sex hormones, such as testosterone, but may also be a handicap because testosterone is also known to suppress the immune system. As a result, only 'healthy' individuals can afford to porduce these masculine traits, indicating their dominance and the strength of their immune system to females who are then more likely to select them as possible mates - Thornhill and Cangestad (1999). This is known as the handicap principle. Penton-Nook et al (1999) found that women are attracted to more masculine-looking men during the most fertile time of their menstrual cycle and showed a preference for more feminine-looking faces during their less fertile times. This may indicate that a less masculine-looking man 'may make a better long term partner(being seen as kinder and more cooperative), but that women benefit from being unfaithful in order to produce the strongest healthiest children as a result of a quick fling with a more masculine looking man. - It is argued that body preferences have also undergone sexual selection. Montoya (2007) found that both men and women are interested in body parts predictive of good health (eyes, skin and complexion). Males prefer body parts predictive of fertility (hips, buttocks, breasts, waist). Women prefer body parts predictive of strength and overall fitness (general muscle tone, arms, shoulders, height). Women have been shown to prefer a V-shaped torso probably because it indicates high levels of testosterone - Dabbs and Dabbs (2000). In addition, research confirms that women show a consistent preference for taller males - Dunbar et al (2000) - with childless men are on average shorter than men with children. We also find bodily symmetry attractive. Symmetry indicates good genes, reproductive vigour and an effective immune system. Males and females with near perfect body symmetry also report two or three times as many sexual partners as those with the most asymmetrical bodies. This doesn't necessarily mean that the evolutionary explanation is supported - it may just be that body symmetry in men correlates with another trait that women find attractive, such as high self esteem. Low et al (1987) hypothesises that female human breasts and buttocks have undergone sexual elaboration through mate choice by males. These organs store substantial amounts of fat, so could function as indicators of female nutritional status and hence fertility. Singh (1993) argues that, within reason, any man will find almost any weight of a woman attractive so long as her waist is much thinner than her hips, with an ideal ratio of 0.7 - this appears to be consistent across all cultures. Wide hips indicate child bearing capability, as well as a thin waist indicating an absence of pregnancy (this would have been far more significant in Pleistocene times). Szalay and Costello (1992) - Permanent enlargement of breasts and buttocks is also fairly effective at concealing ovulation. Females who do not reveal their menstrual cycles may benfit from male uncertainty by being able to solicit male attentino and investment eve when they are not really fertile. Males cannot directly observe fertility and viability, instead they must estimate the age of females using physical attractiveness as a guide. The same goes for females, they use male physical ad behavioural cues as a guide to the quality of their potential mates. Buss (1995) - Preference for physical attractiveness in males is for a number of reasons: Males are always fertile, therefore age does not have to be judged so neither attractiveness, if a male is infertile then this can't be assessed via looks, female reproductive success is not as limited by the problem of obtaining fertile mates. Physical indicators are also subject to the 'handicap principle' because if not, they can be faked too easily - Zahavi (1991). - Males have a low paternity certainty, but even so, parental investment in a few offspring will yield better success than promiscuity, providing one advantage of monogamy. Females will always be certain of maternity, however they face other risks such as a philandering partner may lead to a loss of resources or STD's. It is expected that menn somewhat favour polygyny and women favour monogamy. According to Ridley (1993) it depends on which evidence you look at - if you study modern people directly then monogamous marriage is the norm. If you look at history, rich and powerful men kept many females in large harems, poor men remained celibate. If you look at simple societies in the preset day they are usually polygamous but less polygamous than they used to be. - Homosexuality presents a major porblem for sexual selection theory. Other things being equal, a gene that vastly reduces the chances of propagating itself through reproduction will in the course of time gradually disappear. So other things are clearly not equal, and one is forced to conclude that the secondary effects of possessing that gene are so beneficial that they balance out the obvious reproductive advantage. The different hypotheses for how this gene has survived are: Sneaky copulation - homosexuals still sneakily engage in heterosexual sex therefore passing genes on, the gees for homosexuality conferred some other unknown advantage, genes have survived as gay men put a lot of effort into rearing relatives who also carry gay genes (recessive alleles), finally social dominance theory - integrating yourself with dominant members of your social group. Homosexual activity would facilitate social living, help you avoid aggression from dominant males and therefore promote survival. Together with sneaky copulations this would be advantageous. Gay men are more promiscuous than lesbians and more promiscuous than heterosexual men - Symons (1979). This evidence is used to support the predictions made by sexual selection theory. Before the advent of AIDS it he calculated that around 75% of gay men had more than 100 partners and 25% had more than 1000 partners. In addition infidelity is a far greater problem in male homosexual relationships than in heterosexual ones. Lesbians rarely engage in sex with strangers and form long-term relationships with little chance of infidelity. Most lesbians have fewer than 10 partners throughout their lives. Homosexual males are said to be more promiscuous as both parties have large appetites for sex and tend to seek more sexual variety. Homosexual men behave like men, only more so, homosexual women, behave like women only more so. These arguments have been said to be reductionist as there are many other explanations of gender role and gender identity that consider the influence of social, developmental and cultural factors. Rape - Thornhill and Thornhill (1983) proposed that evolution has favoured males with the capacity to commit rape, under certain conditions, as a means of leaving descendants. According to this hypothesis, human males unable to attract willing sexual partners may use rape as a reproductive option of last resort. This may be supported by the observation that victims of rape are usually in their peak reproductive years, yet it may also just be a maladaptive by-product of the male reproductive psyche. This is an extremely controversial hypothesis. Selection for Mental Characteristics - A particular characteristic of human beings is our love of novelty (known as neophillia) and before the arrival of TV and the internet our ancestors would have had to amuse each other and neophillia would have led to ever-more creative displays from potential mates. This would explain many of the characteristics that areuniversally and uniquely developed in humans, such as music, art and humour, all of which are highly valued during mate choice - Miller (1998). Evaluation - The theory does have great explanatory power and evolution is involved in behaviour. Just as physical characteristics are subject to sexual selection so are may behaviours. The evidence in summary shows that both sexes compete, are choosy, have dominance relations and form alliances. There is a considerable body of evidence to support this approach
- The evidence does not show that genes determine human reproductive behaviour. Genes appear to shape and predispose behaviour but it does not fix outcomes. Nature and nurture work together, there is a mixture of genes and culture.
- For the reason above the theory is very reductionist. It cannot entirely explain all observed behaviour
- There are some studies that show results undermining the theory, such as those of Strassberg and Holty (2003) - who placed 4 'female seeking ads' on two large internet dating bulletin boards. The four ads, each with different keys words, were the IV, the 500 responses over the next 6 weeks were the DV. Contrary to SS theory the most popular ads were the ones where females described themselves as 'finacially independent' and 'successful and ambitious' as opposed to 'lovely... very attractive and slim'
- Some results in this area are selectively reported, for example Buss' (1989) results were selectively reported in the way that he failed to mention 'kind' and 'intelligent' were both ranked higher than any other characteristic for both sexes - whether kindness or intelligence are still sexually selected traits or not
- SS theory doesn't focus on contemporary explanations (proximate explanations) but only on how HRB would have been adaptive in our ancestral past (ultimate explanations)
- A failure to recognise the importance of social and cultural factors - Kephart (1967) asked Americans 'if someone had all the other qualities you desired in a marriage partner, would you marry this person if you were not in love?'. Over twice as many men replied 'no' as did women. However when Simpson et al (1986) repeated this study 20 years later, more than 80% of both men and women said 'no'. This can be explained at least partly by the fact that, 20 years later, financial independence has allowed women to choose marriage partners for reasons other than material necessity. Yet culture and therefore society is a product of genes.
- The theory suffers badly from 'armchair adaptionism'
- Roughgarden (2005) states that SS theory is not properly falsifiable. Take monogamy for example, SS theory suggests this shouldn't be as males are promiscuous, yet it explains it away as entrapment of males by females or as a default strategy. How could this ever be proved to be false?
- The more clever the animal, the greater the capacity for learning, therefore in humans it is very likely that some learning must be operating in HRB
- We have yet to identify the actual genes involved in most HRB however gene mapping is rapidly moving towards this
- Numerous animal experiments support SS theory
- Essentially, nearly all behaviours are the result of a complex interaction between nature and nurture - In most species, males and females do not invest equally in their offspring. Female investment tends to be far greater as females gametes are less numerous and more costly to produce than male gametes. A female can only have a limited number of offspring, whereas a male can potentially have an unlimited number
- It is estimated that in all cultures only about 1% of men take on significant parental responsibility by staying at home to look after children. This is not to say men invest nothing, but no where ear as much as a mother.
- Parenting appears to be an altruistic behaviour - an individual invests in the survival of another at cost to his or her survival, yet in evolutionary terms it is a selfish behaviour as we only want to ensure survival of our genes. Men and women have evolved different strategies for this
- The following is true: - Males produce millions of sperm whereas women produce comparatively fewer eggs. Males in principle therefore need contribute very little in order to reproduce (one sperm will do), whereas women must go through a difficult and lengthy period of pregnancy, childbirth and lactation. This means that any given woman can have far fewer children than any given man and must 'invest' more energy into the children she has
- When a woman has a child, she is effectively tied to it for a couple of years and limited in her ability to fend for herself, find food etc. Her survival and the survival of her offspring depends on being able to garner resources. This is where men become important.
- Men hunt, women bear children, make milk and nurture. Females need protection and males need to prevent their mate from mating with other males (to be sure of paternity) - Men go for quantity of offspring as they have the means to create so many via their infinite sperm, women go for quality of offspring as they do not have the means to make many due to their limited eggs and one child will take years to bear, whereas a males job is accomplished after copulation. Men are also fertile for life, meaning the only limit they have on how many offspring they can produce is how many female partners are available. Mistakes in mate choice can be very costly for women
- Paternal investment is found in many species of bird and fish. It involves a trade-off between reproductive and survival related costs and benefits - Trivers (1972). In some species, paternal investment may be necessary for the survival of his offspring. In such species, selection pressures strongly favour males who invest in offspring, and via evolution this eventually results in all males showing high levels of paternal investment
- In humans paternal investment is related to degree of paternity certainty, alternative mating opportunities and the stregh of the relation between paternal care and offspring survival
- There is no example of male-only parental care in mammals, and only 10% of mammals share parental care, with humans being in this minority - Gross (2005)
- Males are at risk of wasting time and resources raising a child that is not their own - cuckoldry
- Herdt (1992) - In hunter-gatherer societies like the Samia of Papua New Guinea, the males provide virtually no care to babies and children. Then when the children reach 10 the males collectively take responsibility for boy children
- Diamond (1992) - Argues that males invest more when they are certain the child is theirs, certain that the investment will improve the offspring's chance of survival and when other opportunities to mate are not restricted by the investment
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