Human Nature

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 22–34 | Cite as

Men’s reproductive investment decisions

Mating, Parenting, and Self-perceived Mate Value
  • Coren L. ApicellaEmail author
  • Frank W. Marlowe


Using questionnaire data completed by 170 men, we examine variation in paternal investment in relation to the trade-off between mating and parenting. We found that as men’s self-perceived mate value increases, so does their mating effort, and in turn, as mating effort increases, paternal investment decreases. This study also simultaneously examined the influence on parental investment of men’s mating effort, men’s perception of their mates’ fidelity, and their perceived resemblance to their offspring. All predicted investment. The predictors of investment are also tested independently for men who are still in a relationship with the mother of their children and those that are separated from her. Finally we examine how self-perceived mate value affects how men respond to variation in paternity confidence. Men with a self-perceived low mate value were less likely to respond to lowered mate fidelity by reducing their parental investment compared with men with a self-perceived high mate value.

Key Words

Mate value Mating effort Paternity confidence Parental investment Reproductive strategies 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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