Sex Differences in Subjective Estimates of Non-Paternity Rates in Austria
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The determination of paternity is important due to the possibility of cuckoldry and the subsequent squandering of male reproductive effort. Men may be attuned to prevalence rates of cuckoldry in the local environment to assess risk. However, women may have an enhanced ability to assess paternity and may have superior insight into women’s sexual infidelity. Accordingly, this study examined subjective estimates of human non-paternity (HNP), the discrepancy between social/legal versus genetic paternity. The hypothesis was that women would provide higher estimates of HNP than men. A sex difference in the hypothesized direction was observed across four community samples of Austrian adults (totalling 763 men and 795 women), with women overall providing higher HNP estimates than men (14.5% vs. 9.1%). Furthermore, key demographic variables impacted HNP estimates for both sexes: individuals who were unmarried, childless, currently unpartnered, or currently in a romantic relationship of a shorter duration provided higher HNP estimates than their counterparts, thus suggesting that such estimates might be attuned to mating effort and strategies, as well as relationship quality and investment.
KeywordsPaternity certainty Sex differences Subjective estimates Infidelity Mate selection
The contributions of Angelika Hofhansl, Bettina Manfrini, Helga Preston-Leikauf, and Cornelia Stadlhuber to data collection for this research are gratefully acknowledged.
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