Advertisement

Current Psychology

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 977–981 | Cite as

Mutual mate choice drives the desirability of altruism in relationships

  • Daniel FarrellyEmail author
  • Laura King
Article

Abstract

Although previous research has found that altruism is an important trait in human mate choice, much of this has concentrated on female preferences only. Subsequently, the current study explored how both men and women desire altruistic partners who varied in physical attractiveness for both short and long term romantic relationships. A sample of 136 women and 53 men viewed profiles of members of the opposite sex of either high or low physical attractiveness, alongside scenarios that described them as either being altruistic or not. Participants then rated each targets’ desirability as both a short and long term partner. As hypothesised, altruism was rated more desirable, particularly for long term relationships, by both men and women. However there were inconsistent findings when physical attractiveness was accounted for, which did not support the hypotheses nor directly replicate previous findings. Overall it was concluded that although the study provided strong support for the desirability of altruism being due to mutual mate choice, the additional effects of examining other mate choice traits such as attractiveness shows much is still to be known.

Keywords

Altruism Gender Attractiveness Relationship length Desirability 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Arnocky, S., Piché, T., Albert, G., Ouellette, D., & Barclay, P. (2017). Altruism predicts mating success in humans. British Journal of Psychology, 108, 416–435.Google Scholar
  2. Barclay, P. (2010). Altruism as a courtship display: Some effects of third-party generosity on audience perceptions. British Journal of Psychology, 101, 123–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bhogal, M. S., Galbraith, N., & Manktelow, K. (2016). Sexual selection and the evolution of altruism: Males are more altruistic and cooperative towards attractive females. Letters on Evolutionary Behavioral Science, 7, 10–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bhogal, M. S., Galbraith, N., & Manktelow, K. (2017). Physical attractiveness, altruism and cooperation in an ultimatum game. Current Psychology, 36, 549–555.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bhogal, M. S., Bartlett, J. E., & Farrelly, D. (2018). The influence of mate choice motivation on non-financial altruism. Current Psychology, 1–6.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-018-0070-x.
  6. Bhogal, M. S., Galbraith, N., & Manktelow, K. (2019). A research note on the influence of relationship length and sex on preferences for altruistic and cooperative mates. Psychological Reports, 0033294118764640.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0033294118764640.
  7. Buss, D. M. (1989). Sex differences in human mate preferences: Evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 12, 1–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Conroy-Beam, D., Buss, D. M., Pham, M. N., & Shackelford, T. K. (2015). How sexually dimorphic are human mate preferences? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 1082–1093.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Darwin, C. (1871). The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. London: Murray.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ehlebracht, D., Stavrova, O., Fetchenhauer, D., & Farrelly, D. (2018). The synergistic effect of prosociality and physical attractiveness on mate desirability. British Journal of Psychology, 109, 517–537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Farrelly, D. (2011). Cooperation as a signal of genetic or phenotypic quality in female mate choice? Evidence from preferences across the menstrual cycle. British Journal of Psychology, 102, 406–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Farrelly, D. (2013). Altruism as an Indicator of good parenting quality in long term relationships : Further investigations using the mate preferences towards altruistic traits scale. The Journal of Social Psychology, 153, 395–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Farrelly, D., Lazarus, J., & Roberts, G. (2007). Altruists attract. Evolutionary Psychology, 5, 313–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Farrelly, D., Clemson, P., & Guthrie, M. (2016). Are Womens mate preferences for altruism also influenced by physical attractiveness? Evolutionary Psychology, 14(1), –6.Google Scholar
  15. Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Lang, A. G., & Buchner, A. (2007). G* power 3: A flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences. Behavior Research Methods, 39, 175–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gintis, H., Smith, E. A., & Bowles, S. (2001). Costly signaling and cooperation. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 213, 103–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Iredale, W., Vugt, M. Van, & Dunbar, R. (2008). Showing Off in Humans : Male Generosity as a Mating Signal, Evolutionary Psychology 6, 386–392.Google Scholar
  18. Ma, D. S., Correll, J., & Wittenbrink, B. (2015). The Chicago face database: A free stimulus set of faces and norming data. Behavior Research Methods, 47, 1122–1135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Margana, L., Bhogal, M. S., Bartlett, J. E., & Farrelly, D. (2019). The roles of altruism, heroism, and physical attractiveness in female mate choice. Personality and Individual Differences, 137, 126–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Miller, G. F. (2000). The mating mind: How sexual selection shaped the evolution of human nature. London: William Hienemann.Google Scholar
  21. Miller, G. F. (2007). Sexual selection for moral virtues. The Quarterly Review of Biology, 82, 97–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Moore, D., Wigby, S., English, S., Wong, S., Székely, T., & Harrison, F. (2013). Selflessness is sexy: Reported helping behaviour increases desirability of men and women as long-term sexual partners. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 13, 182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Oda, R., Shibata, A., Kiyonari, T., Takeda, M., & Matsumoto-Oda, A. (2013). Sexually dimorphic preference for altruism in the opposite sex according to recipient. British Journal of Psychology, 104, 577–584.Google Scholar
  24. Phillips, T., Barnard, C., Ferguson, E., & Reader, T. (2008). Do humans prefer altruistic mates? Testing a link between sexual selection and altruism towards non-relatives. British Journal of Psychology, 99, 555–572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Raihani, N. J., & Smith, S. (2015). Competitive helping in online giving. Current Biology, 25, 1183–1186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Shackelford, T. K., Schmitt, D. P., & Buss, D. M. (2005). Universal dimensions of human mate preferences. Personality and Individual Differences, 39, 447–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Stavrova, O., & Ehlebracht, D. (2015). A longitudinal analysis of romantic relationship formation : The effect of prosocial behavior. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 6, 521–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Stulp, G., Buunk, A. P., Kurzban, R., & Verhulst, S. (2013). The height of choosiness: mutual mate choice for stature results in suboptimal pair formation for both sexes. Animal Behaviour, 86, 37–46.Google Scholar
  29. Tognetti, A., Berticat, C., Raymond, M., & Faurie, C. (2012). Sexual selection of human cooperative behaviour: An experimental study in rural Senegal. PLoS One, 7, e44403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Tognetti, A., Dubois, D., Faurie, C., & Willinger, M. (2016). Men increase contributions to a public good when under sexual competition. Scientific Reports, 29819.  https://doi.org/10.1038/srep29819.
  31. Trivers, R. (1972). Parental investment and sexual selection. In Sexual selection & the descent of man (pp. 136–179). New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Organisational Psychology, Team Dynamics and Interpersonal Relationships, School of PsychologyUniversity of WorcesterWorcesterUK

Personalised recommendations