View More View Less
  • 1 Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada
  • 2 Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York, USA
Restricted access

Abstract

Mate availability has been shown to influence intrasexual competition and mate-guarding behavior across a variety of species. Nevertheless, little is known about how perceived mate scarcity affects such behavior in humans. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of experimentally induced perceptions of mate availability upon intrasexual competition, jealousy and aggressive mate guarding behavior. Heterosexual undergraduate students (N = 124, 60 women, 64 men) were primed with perceptions of either mate scarcity or mate abundance and subsequently completed measures of intrasexually competitive attitude, jealousy and willingness to aggress against a mate-poacher (either directly or indirectly). For both men and women, results showed that individuals who were exposed to the mate scarcity condition reported significantly more intrasexual competition, jealousy and willingness to aggress indirectly against a matepoacher compared to those exposed to the mate abundance condition. Results provide evidence of an attitudinal and behavioral shift toward sexual conflict when individuals perceive mates to be a scarce resource.

  • C A Anderson A J Benjamin P K Wood A M Bonacci 2006 Development and testing of the Velicer Attitudes toward Violence Scale: Evidence for a four-factor model Aggressive Behavior 32 122 136.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • J Archer 1994 Testosterone and aggression Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 21 3–4 3 39.

  • J Archer 2000 Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: A meta-analytic review Psychological Bulletin 126 5 651 680.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • J Archer 2004 Sex differences in aggression in real-world settings: A meta-analytic review Review of General Psychology 8 4 291 322.

  • J Archer S Côté 2005 Sex differences in aggressive behavior: A developmental and evolutionary perspective RE Tremblay WW Hartup J Archer Developmental Origins of Aggression Guilford Press New York 83 106.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • S Arnocky S Sunderani T Vaillancourt 2013 Mate poaching and mating success in humans Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 11 2 65 83.

  • S Arnocky S Sunderani J Miller T Vaillancourt 2012 Jealousy mediates the relationship between attractiveness comparison and females’ indirect aggression Personal Relationships 19 2 290 303.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • S Arnocky T Vaillancourt 2012 A multi-informant longitudinal study on the relationship between aggression, peer victimization, and dating status in adolescence Evolutionary Psychology 10 2 253 270.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 00. Behavioral Ecology 2013 24 3.

  • N Barber 2009 Countries with fewer males have more violent crime: Marriage markets and mating aggression Aggressive Behavior 35 49 56.

  • N Barber 1999 Women's dress fashions as a function of reproductive strategy Sex Roles 40 5–6 459 471.

  • A J Bateman 1948 Intra-sexual selection in drosophila Heredity 2 349 368.

  • J F Benenson H Markovits M E Thompson R W Wrangham 2011 Under threat of social exclusion, females exclude more than males Psychological Science 22 4 538 544.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • A Berglund 1994 The operational sex ratio influences choosiness in a pipefish Behavioral Ecology 5 3 254 258.

  • K Bjorkqvist 1994 Sex differences in physical, verbal, and indirect aggression: A review of recent research Sex Roles 30 3 177 188.

  • K Bjorkqvist K Osterman K J Lagerspetz 1994 Sex differences in covert aggression among adults Aggressive Behavior 20 27 33.

  • DM Buss 1988 The evolution of human intrasexual competition: Tactics of mate attraction Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 54 4 616 628.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • DM Buss 1994 The strategies of human mating American Scientist 82 3 238 249.

  • DM Buss 1998 Sexual strategies theory: Historical origins and current status Journal of Sex Research 35 19 31.

  • DM Buss 2008 Attractive women want it all: Good genes, economic investment, parenting — proclivities, and emotional commitment Evolutionary Psychology 6 1 134 146.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • D M Buss L Dedden 1990 Derogation of competitors Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 7 3 395 422.

  • DM Buss T Shackelford 1997 Human aggression in evolutionary psychological perspective 17 6 605 619.

  • D M Buss M G Haselton 2005 The evolution of jealousy Trends in Cognitive Science 9 11 506 507.

  • A Buunk M Fisher 2009 Individual differences in intrasexual competition Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 7 37 48.

  • A Campbell 1995 A few good men: Evolutionary psychology and female adolescent aggression Ethology and Sociobiology 16 2 99 123.

  • A Campbell 1999 Staying alive: Evolution, culture, and women's intrasexual aggression Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 2 203 252.

  • A Campbell 2004 Female competition: Causes, constraints, content and contexts Journal of Sex Research 41 6 26.

  • T Clutton-Brock 2007 Sexual selection in males and females Science 318 5858 1882 1885.

  • M Colwell L Oring 1988 Sex ratios and intrasexual competition for mates in a sex-role reversed shorebird, Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 22 3 165 173.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • A Cox M Fisher 2008 A framework for exploring intrasexual competition The Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology 2 4 144 155.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • X Dai K Wertenbroch C M Brendl 2008 The value heuristic in judgments of relative frequency Psychological Science 19 18 19.

  • M Daly M Wilson 1988 Homicide Aldine New York.

  • M Daly M Wilson 1989 Homicide and cultural evolution Ethology and Sociobiology 10 1–3 99 110.

  • M Daly M Wilson SJ Weghorst 1982 Male sexual jealousy Ethology and Sociobiology 3 11 27.

  • C Darwin 1859 On the origin of the species by means of natural selection, or the Preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life John Murray London.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • C Darwin 1871 The descent of man and selection in relation to sex John Murray London.

  • K D de Jong E Forsgren H Sandvik T Amundsen 2012 Measuring mating competition correctly: available evidence supports operational sex ratio theory Behavioral Ecology 23 6 1170 1177.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • P Dijkstra B Buunk 1998 Jealousy as a function of rival characteristics: An evolutionary perspective Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 24 11 1158 1166.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • P Dijkstra B Buunk 2002 Sex differences in the jealousy-evoking effect of rival characteristics European Journal of Social Psychology 32 6 829 852.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • K M Durante V Griskevicius J A Simpson S M Cantú J M Tybur 2012 Sex ratio and women's career choice: Does a scarcity of men lead women to choose briefcase over baby? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 103 1 121 134.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • S Emlen L W Oring 1977 Ecology, sexual selection, and the evolution of mating systems Science 197 4300 215 223.

  • Fernandez-Duque M E. Huck 2013 Till death (or an intruder) do us part: Intrasexual competition in a monogamous primate PLOS one 8 1 5.

  • M Fisher A Cox 2009 The influence of female attractiveness on the effectiveness of competitor derogation Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 7 2 141 155.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • R A Fisher 1930 The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection Clarendon Press Oxford.

  • M V Flinn 1988 Mate guarding in a Caribbean village Ethology and Sociobiology 9 1 1 28.

  • S W Gangestad J A Simpson 2000 The evolution of human mating: Trade-offs and strategic pluralism Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 4 573 644.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • D C Geary 2000 Evolution and proximate expression of human paternal investment Psychological Bulletin 126 55 77.

  • S J Gould 1974 Origin and function of ‘bizarre’ structures: Antler size and skull size in the ‘Irish elk,’ Megaloceros giganteus Evolution 28 2 191 220.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • V Griskevicius J M Tybur J M Ackerman A W Delton T E Robertson A E White 2011 The financial consequences of too many men: Sex ratio effects on saving, borrowing, and spending Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 102 1 69 80.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • V Griskevicius J M Tybur S W Gangestad E F Perea J R Shapiro D T Kenrick 2009 Aggress to impress: Hostility as an evolved context-dependent strategy Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 96 5 980 994.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • C R Harris 2003 A review of sex differences in sexual jealousy, including self-report data, psychophysiological responses, interpersonal violence, and morbid jealousy Personality and Social Psychology Review 7 102 128.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • M G Haselton S W Gangestad 2006 Conditional expression of women's desires and men's mate guarding across the ovulatory cycle Hormones and Behavior 49 4 509 518.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • L A Jensen-Campbell J M Knack A M Waldrip S D Campbell 2007 Do big five personality traits associated with self-control influence the regulation of anger and aggression? Journal of Research in Personality 41 2 403 424.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • M Jirotkul 1999 Operational sex ratio influences preference and male-male competition in guppies Animal Behavior 58 2 287 294.

  • B C Jones A C Little I S Penton-Voak B P Tidderman D M Burt D I Perrett 2001 Facial symmetry and judgments of apparent health: Support for a ‘good genes’ explanation of the attractiveness-symmetry relationship Evolution and Human Behavior 22 6 417 429.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • D J Kruger C J Fitzgerald T Peterson 2010 Female scarcity reduces women's marital ages and increases variance in men's marital ages Evolutionary Psychology 8 3 420 431.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • D J Kruger E Schlemmer 2009 Male scarcity is differentially related to male marital likelihood across the life course Evolutionary Psychology 7 280 287.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • J H Lee D Park 2009 Effects of body size, operational sex ratio, and age on pairing by the Asian toad, Bufo stejnegeri Zoological Studies 48 3 334 332.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • N P Li JM Bailey D T Kenrick J A W Linsenmeier 2002 The necessities and luxuries of mate preferences: Testing the tradeoffs Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 82 6 947 955.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • N P Li D T Kenrick 2006 Sex similarities and differences in preferences for short-term mates: What, whether, and why Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 90 3 468 489.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • J K Maner D T Kenrick V Becker T E Robertson B Hofer S L Neuberg 2005 Functional projection: How fundamental social motives can bias interpersonal perception Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 88 63 78.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • F W Marlowe J C Barbesque 2012 The human operational sex ratio: Effects of marriage, concealed ovulation, and menopause on mate competition Journal of Human Evolution 63 834 832.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • J Maynard Smith 1974 The theory of games and the evolution of animal conflicts Journal of Theoretical Biology 47 209 221.

  • J C Mitani J Gros-Louis A F Richards 1996 Sexual dimorphism, the operational sex ratio, and the intensity of male competition in polygynous primates The American Naturalist 147 6 966 980.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • F A Pedersen 1991 Secular trends in human sex ratios: Their influence on individual and family behavior Human Nature 2 3 271 291.

  • T Pollet D Nettle 2008 Driving a hard bargain: Sex ratio and male marriage success in a historical US population Biology Letters 4 31 33.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • AJ Rose K D Rudolph 2006 A review of sex difference in peer relationship processes: Potential trade-offs for the emotional and behavioral development of girls and boys Psychological Bulletin 132 98 131.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • D P Schmitt 2005 Sociosexuality from Argentina to Zimbabwe: A 48-nation study of sex, culture, and strategies of human mating Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 247 311.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • T Shackelford N Pound A Goetz 2005 Psychological and physiological adaptations to sperm competition in humans Review of General Psychology 9 3 228 248.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • S J South K Trent 1988 Sex ratios and women's roles: A cross-national analysis American Journal of Sociology 93 5 1096 1115.

  • S S Spielmann G MacDonald A E Wilson 2009 On the rebound: Focusing on someone new helps anxiously attached individuals let go of ex-partners Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 35 10 1382 1394.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • E A Stone T K Shackelford D M Buss 2007 Sex ratio and mate preferences: A cross-cultural investigation European Journal of Social Psychology 37 2 288 296.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • S Sunderani S Arnocky T Vaillancourt 2013 Individual differences in mate poaching: An examination of hormonal, dispositional, and behavioral mate-value traits Archives of Sexual Behavior 42 4 533 542.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • D Symons 1979 The Evolution of Human Sexuality Oxford University Press New York.

  • L D Taylor 2013 Male partner selectivity, romantic confidence, and media depictions of partner scarcity Evolutionary Psychology 11 1 36 49.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • M Tejedo 1988 Fighting for females in the toad Bufo calamita is affected by the operational sex ratio British Journal of Animal Behaviour 36 6 1765 1769.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • R Thornhill S W Gangestad 2006 Facial sexual dimorphism, developmental stability and susceptibility to disease in men and women Evolution and Human Behavior 27 2 131 144.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • R Trivers 1972 Parental investment and sexual selection B Campbell Sexual Selection and the Descent of Man 1871–1971 Aldine Chicago, IL 180 230.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • T Vaillancourt 2005 Indirect aggression among humans: Social construct or evolutionary adaptation? RE Tremblay WH Hartup J Archer Developmental Origins of Aggression Guilford Press NY 158 177.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • T Vaillancourt J Miller A Sharma 2010 “Tripping the Prom Queen”: Female intrasexual competition and indirect aggression K Osterman Indirect and Direct Aggression Peter Lang Publishing Frankfurt, Germany 17 32.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • S Wacker K Mobley E Forsgren L Cats Myhre K de Jong A Amundsen 2013 Operational sex ratio but not density affects sexual selection in fish Evolution 67 7 1937 1949.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • S Walters C B Crawford 1994 The importance of mate attraction for intrasexual competition in men and women Ethology and Sociobiology 15 5 30.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • C D Watkins B C Jones A C Little L DeBruine D R Feinberg 2012 Cues to the sex ratio of the local population influence women's preferences for facial symmetry Animal Behaviour 83 2 545 533.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • L K Weir J W A Grant J A Hutchings 2011 The influence of operational sex ratio on the intensity of competition for mates The American Naturalist 177 2 167 176.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • T Wells Graham 2013 Understanding men's aggression in bars: Development of the Beliefs and Attitudes toward Male Alcohol-Related Aggression (BAMARA) Inventory Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 37 S1 E260 E270.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • M Wilson M Daly 1985 Competitiveness, risk taking, and violence: The young male syndrome Ethology and Sociobiology 6 59 73.

  • J Zhang Z Zhang 2003 Influence of operational sex ratio and density on the copulatory behavior and mating system of Brandt's vole Microtus brandti Acta Theriologica 48 3 335 346.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

No Evolutionist is an Island

A review of Kevin N. Laland and Gillian R. Brown (2011) Sense and Nonsense. Evolutionary perspectives of human behaviour Oxford: Oxford University Press. 270 pages, ISBN: 978-0-19-958696-7