Psy 415; Chapter 1; Mate Preferences

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Social Context frameworks
Focuses on proximal mechanisms-that is forces located in the contemporary social, cultural, and historical milieu-that influence mate preferences and mate selection
Social exchange or equity models
according to these models, the process of mate selection resembles a marketplace in which people attempt to maximize their rewards and make social interaction as profitable as possible by exchanging their own assets-beauty, health, intelligence, sense of humor, wealth, status-for desirable attributes in a partner

In essence, we tend to pursue those similar to us.

Social role theory
People prefer others to behave in accordance with existing sex role stereotypes,
Social and cultural scripts
normative expectations that define and organize social experience and are used to guide and assess social behavior
Social learning process (study guide)
including the patterns of reinforcement and punishment that people receive for their romantic and sexual behavior ; and sexual regimes, which consist of culturally specific normative orientations and traditions associated with sexuality
Evolutionary Models
of human mating are derived from the theoretical principles of evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary psychology conceive of the mind as composed of many specialize processing systems. For example we possess neural circuitry that is specialized for use in mate selection, just as we have neural circuitry for language acquisition or food selection
What four different types of partner attributes does evolutionary models target that could have affected reproductive success?
1. Emotional Fitness ( Social and emotional support, long term, prosocial personality)

2, Physical or genetic fitness: A sexually mature/ healthy individual who are capable of reproduction, who would pass on “good genetics” to offspring, and

3. Interpersonal attributes that promote successful formation and maintenance of a committed pair bond

4. Relational fitness – The ability and motivation to become exclusively attached to one particular individual, to ignore temptations posed by other individuals, and to confine re productivity relevant behaviors to the primary relationship.

5. Social Fitness- Promote reproductive success in ancestral environment. Men and women who select mate individuals with strong ties to the existing communities, with some degree of status or position within that community; and with the ability to provide tangible resources in the form of food, shelter, and physical protection- would enjoy a higher degree of reproductive success.

What are the three methods used to examine Mate preferences?
Self- Report

1. ranking procedure
2.rating procedure
3. Percentile rating procedure
5.Budget allocation (lecture) -offers 10 characteristics/You have 500 dollars to distribute between these attributes

What are some issues/problems with mate preference research?
-Issue of self-report (Bias, social desirability)

-Issue of hypothetical data (This is not how it works in real life)

-Issue of compromise (We cant always get what we want. We cannot always obtain the type of partner we desire which is why we compromise

Susan study
Researchers found that men were significantly less willing than women to marry someone who was “not good looking” whereas women were significantly less willing than men to marry a partner who was “not likely to hold a steady job” and who would “learn less than you”
What does a woman prefer in a man?
long term partner who possess intelligence, emotional stability, an honest and trustworthy disposition, an exciting overall personality, and a physically attractive appearance
What do both men and women equally want in partners? Ranking in importance. (Study guide)
1. Prosocial personality attributes (good sense of humor, exciting personality, friendly, positive)

2.Characteristics related to intellect and mental drive. (possess intelligence, educated and ambitious)

3. Physically appealing attributes (Healthy)

4. Similarity -values and attitudes

5. Characteristics related to social status-This is of least importance

What attributes do we seek to avoid when looking for a potential partner? (Study guide)
Men and Women are repulsed by people who consistently violate social norms and rules of conduct, including drinking excessively, cheating at games, gossiping about others, arriving late all the time, and lying. Individuals who are oversexed, constantly talk about previous relationships, or partners who gaze longingly at other men and women. Bad grooming habits, etc.

When choosing a long term partner both men and women say they will not marry someone unless they score above average (the 50th percentile) on nearly all attributes.

What does a man emphasize when they are looking for a partner? (Study Guide)
Physical attraction
What does a woman emphasize when looking for a partner? (Study guide)
Social and economic position
Individualistic vs. Collectivist cultures [group differences in mate selection] (study guide)
Individualistic cultures tend to emphasize emotional stability, openness, dependable character

Collectivist: emphasize practical characteristics (good housekeeper, same religion, money-mindedness) (china and india)

Do we always get what we want? The issue of Compromise
Research indicates that men and women are willing to compromise their ideal mate standards by paying attention to external factors ( e.g. selection of time) that affect mate choice, by taking into account their mate value, and by selectivity choosing one characteristic or combination of characteristics over others
Do we always know what we want? The issue of self report
Men and Women may be differently aware of (or motivated to reveal) the factors that influence their perceptions and evaluations of potential mates-an important consideration to keep in mind when evaluating research on partner preferences.
What is the definition of “Mating relationships?” (Study guide)
Variety of terms used but all share fundamental feature “sexual exchanges and activities are viewed by the partners as a legitimate expectation for their relationship”
What are the two basic approaches to understanding mate selection/partner preferences? (study guide)
1) Social context theories
2) Evolutionary theories
Social context theories (study guide)
These theories look at things that affect us today in the present world.

1) Exchange equity theory
2) Social role theory
3) Scripts, learning theory

Exchange Equity theory (study guide)
-We pay attention to the interactions with other people and realize the cost/benefits of the interactions

-We like to maximize profits and minimize the cost

-principle of self-interest (not selfishness)

– We tend to prefer people who will help us maximize the goods

-Matching effect: People tend to match with others that are based on preferences

*People prefer potential partners who possess a host of socially desirable characteristics, to moderate these preferences by taking into account their own attributes and to ultimately pair with similar others

2) Social Role theory (study guide)
-People tend to behave in line with their social roles.

-We tend to like people who behave within their gender roles.

-What aspects in human behavior do we tend to see as male or female?

-Regardless of our beliefs and stereotypes we tend to prefer males/females to behave according to their gender. We expect women to be nurturing and compassionate and men to be aggressive and assertive

Sociocultural script theory and social learning theory (study guide)
-We learn the rules of romantic relationships from the social world

-Parents and children have same values as parents

– As we grow up peer group becomes more influential

-We are affected by the media

*includes social learning process

Evolutionary Theories (Study guide)
This looks at our past/ancestors

1) The mind is designed to solve adaptive problems ( recurrent issues in human evolutionary history that had implications for reproduction and survival)

2)So we focus on particular partner attributes (picking a good partner helped us to survive)

What are the five things that evolutionary theorist believe mates looked for? (Study Guide)
1) Physical/genetic fitness-Would this person that I am choosing would have the physical capacity to help me survive, and genetic ability to reproduce? (Is this person healthy enough?) (Today physical appearance matters in choosing a partner initially)

2) Relational fitness-The ability to become exclusively attached to one person? (fidelity, commitment)

3) Emotional Fitness- The ability to invest in the relationship? Strong preference for emotional stability
(Today people prefer long term stability)

4)Social Fitness-Ability to deal with other people *do they have good cooperation and good people skills?

What attributes or characteristics do we typically find attractive?

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