Human Nature

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 255–278 | Cite as

Mate choice in modern societies

Testing evolutionary hypotheses with behavioral data
  • Daniel Pérusse
Article

Abstract

Most research on mate choice in modern societies is based on data that may or may not reflect actual mating behavior (e.g., stated preferences, personal advertisements). In the present study, real-life matings were reported by a large representative sample of men and women (N = 1,133). These data were used to test an evolutionary model in which mate choice is hypothesized to depend on resources potentially contributed to reproduction by each sex. Consistent with the model, it was found that (a) men (but not women) of higher social status acquire more mating partners, suggesting that male status is an important criterion in female choice; (b) women’s (but not men’s) number of partners decreases linearly with age, suggesting that female reproductive potential is an important criterion in male choice; and (c) women (but not men) display a significant relationship between marital dissolution and promiscuity, suggesting that female sexual exclusivity is an important criterion in male choice. These results are discussed in relation to understanding mate choice mechanisms from behavioral data.

Key words

Sexual selection Mate choice Reproductive effort Social status Confidence of paternity Reproductive potential French Canadians 

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Copyright information

© Walter de Gruyter, Inc 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Pérusse
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada

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