Human Nature

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 317–330 | Cite as

Assortative Pairing and Life History Strategy

A Cross-Cultural Study
  • Aurelio José FigueredoEmail author
  • Pedro S. A. Wolf


A secondary analysis was performed on preliminary data from an ongoing cross-cultural study on assortative pairing. Independently sampled pairs of opposite-sex romantic partners and of same-sex friends rated themselves and each other on Life History (LH) strategy and mate value. Data were collected in local bars, clubs, coffeehouses, and other public places from three different cultures: Tucson, Arizona; Hermosillo, Sonora; and San José, Costa Rica. The present analysis found that slow LH individuals assortatively pair with both sexual and social partners more strongly than fast LH individuals. We interpret this phenomenon as representing (1) an adaptation for preserving coadapted genomes in slow LH strategists to maintain high copying fidelity genetic replication while producing a lower number of offspring in stable, predictable, and controllable environments and (2) a bet-hedging adaptation in fast LH strategists, favoring the genetic diversification of a higher number of offspring in unstable, unpredictable, and uncontrollable environments.


Assortative mating Life history strategy Mate value Bet-hedging Genetic similarity theory 



We wish to thank the international team of collaborators that is conducting this ongoing cross-cultural study, including Martha Frías Armenta and Victor Corral Verdugo in Mexico, and Carolina Vargas Porras in Costa Rica, Jelena Čvorović in Serbia, Vincent Egan in the United Kingdom, and Jon Sefcek, Julie Douglas, and Geneva Vásquez in the United States of America. We also thank the many research assistants, too numerous to list here, who helped collect these data, and the three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and insightful questions on this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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