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  • Author or Editor: Helen Clegg x
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Authors: Helen Clegg, Daniel Nettle and Dorothy Miell

Abstract

Miller has argued that artworks act as fitness indicators in mate choice. However, there has been little empirical work to support or refute this assertion. This study aims to rectify this and in so doing to develop a novel method to consider whether observers of art are able to accurately assess the qualities of the artist and to use these judgements in mate choice. Fifty-one females rated six males on creativity, intelligence, attractiveness, dexterity and personality through assessment of experimental artworks they had produced. They then indicated which of the artists they would most like to go out on a date with and why. Results provided some support for the aesthetic fitness hypothesis and highlighted possible improvements to the method which has the potential to be an effective way in which to evaluate potential fitness indicators in mate choice.

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Abstract

Teenage pregnancy and motherhood are considered to be pressing social concerns and, in the majority of developed countries, are often viewed as problems in need of solutions. While a number of factors are associated with teenage motherhood, the underlying causes remain elusive. Despite a lack of consensus, policy aimed at ‘solving’ teenage motherhood is typically based on these proposed proximate correlates; addressing these, rather than the cause. Recent appraisals of this approach suggest that it may not be working effectively, if at all, and policy makers might be in need of some novel approaches. This paper discusses how policy decisions concerning reproductive timing may benefit from the perspective provided by evolutionary life-history theory, and why policy ought to take into account the hypothesis that teenage motherhood is the outcome of an adaptive response of an evolved reproductive strategy to conditions of risk and uncertainty; that having children at an earlier age may promote lineage survival when personal future is uncertain.

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