Psychology & Psychiatry

Genders differ dramatically in evolved mate preferences

Men's and women's ideas of the perfect mate differ significantly due to evolutionary pressures, according to a cross-cultural study on multiple mate preferences by psychologists at The University of Texas at Austin.

Psychology & Psychiatry

Why parents think your partner isn't good enough

It is common for parents to influence mate choice—from arranged marriages to more subtle forms of persuasion—but they often disagree with their children about what makes a suitable partner. A new study has found an evolutionary ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Gender equality influences how people choose their partners

Men and women clearly have different strategies for picking sexual partners, but the reason why differences exist is less clear. The classic explanation for these differences has been that men's and women's brains have evolved ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Deep male voice helps women remember

Men take note: If you want women to remember, speak to them in a low pitch voice. Then, depending on what they remember about you, they may or may not rate you as a potential mate. That's according to a new study by David ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Allure of avatar to unlock secrets of sex

(PhysOrg.com) -- There's more to what makes a man or woman attractive than mere shape or weight, but what else do we take into account when we make that judgement?

Psychology & Psychiatry

Quantity may determine quality when choosing romantic partners

The context in which humans meet potential mates has a hidden influence on who they decide to pursue. In particular, when people have a large number of potential dating partners to select among, they respond by paying attention ...

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Sexual selection

Sexual selection is the theory proposed by Charles Darwin that states that certain evolutionary traits can be explained by intraspecific competition. Darwin defined sexual selection as the effects of the "struggle between the individuals of one sex, generally the males, for the possession of the other sex". Biologists today distinguish between "male to male combat" (it is usually males who fight each other), "mate choice" (usually female choice of male mates) and sexual conflict. Traits selected by male combat are called secondary sexual characteristics (including horns, antlers, etc.) and sometimes referred to as "weapons"; and traits selected by mate choice are called "ornaments". Much attention has been given to cryptic female choice, a phenomenon in internally fertilising animals such as mammals and birds, where a female will get rid of a male's sperm without his knowledge. The equivalent in male-to-male combat is sperm competition.

Direct competition between members of one sex (usually males) for mates is also classified as intrasexual selection, while mate choice is known as intersexual selection.

Females often prefer to mate with males with external ornaments—exaggerated features of morphology. These can plausibly arise because an arbitrary female preference for some aspect of male morphology initially increased by genetic drift, creating, in due course, selection for males with the appropriate ornament. This is known as the sexy son hypothesis. Alternatively, genes that enable males to develop impressive ornaments or fighting ability may simply show off greater disease resistance or a more efficient metabolism—features that also benefit females. This idea is known as the good genes hypothesis.

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