Dating and mating across cultural lines

Sterling, I would advise you to make a public apology to every member of the Clipper franchise and to the NBA. I don't know how your publicist will help you redesign your public image because your true racist attitude was exposed explicitly, but if you make an effort to reach out to the general public, you may have an opportunity to gain some respect back. Sterling, you should really look into your heart to accept the diversity around you and realize the "black people" and multi-cultural Clipper fans in LA actually value the team based on the players skills, not on skin color. People of our generation today value honesty and its best you shed your two-faced image. Sterling's girlfriend: Why are you dating a person who believes your cultural background is inferior?

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Inspired by studies demonstrating mate-choice copying effects in non-human species, recent studies of attractiveness judgements suggest that social learning also influences human preferences. In the first part of our article, we review evidence for social learning effects on preferences in humans and other animals.

In the second part, we present new empirical evidence that social learning not only influences the attractiveness of specific individuals, but can also generalize to judgements of previously unseen individuals possessing similar physical traits. The different conditions represent different populations and, once a preference arises in a population, social learning can lead to the spread of preferences within that population.

In the final part of our article, we discuss the theoretical basis for, and possible impact of, biases in social learning whereby individuals may preferentially copy the choices of those with high status or better access to critical information about potential mates. Such biases could mean that the choices of a select few individuals carry the greatest weight, rapidly generating agreement in preferences within a population.

Collectively, these issues suggest that social learning mechanisms encourage the spread of preferences for certain traits once they arise within a population and so may explain certain cross-cultural differences. Individuals often learn from others and selection for social learning mechanisms may occur when there are costs to acquiring accurate behavioural information via individual learning [ 1 ].

In terms of mate choices and preferences, using the judgement of others may be beneficial if it allows an individual to assess potential mates more quickly and efficiently than through individual trial and error. Indeed, there are potentially very large costs if individuals choose their mates badly, with desertion, infidelity or violence posing very real risks [ 2 ]. More fundamentally, our aim is to highlight the utility of considering the effects of social learning in order to gain new insights into the processes that shape human mate preferences and human variability in preference.

Mate-choice copying has been observed among females in a number of different non-human species [ 3 — 6 ], including fish [ 7 — 10 ] and bird species [ 11 — 13 ]. Such studies have generally shown that when females observe another female the model to be paired with one of two males the targets , they are subsequently more likely to prefer the target male they had seen paired with the model over the male that was not paired with the model. These effects suggest that social learning may play an important role in female mate choices and preferences in non-human species.

The effects of social learning on mate choice in non-human species have generally been demonstrated in the laboratory e. They demonstrated that female grouse mated preferentially with the male that appeared to have other females, which were in fact stuffed models, in his territory. While most of the research described above has focused on the choices of females for males, males in some non-human species also appear to copy the mate choices of other males.

In species where males are often the chosen rather than the choosy sex e. In other mating systems, however, benefits to males may lead to copying. For example, male sailfin mollies copy the apparent preferences of other males [ 10 , 15 ]. In this species, copying may be advantageous because of a short period of sexual receptivity in females, leading to a need for males to efficiently identify females who are receptive [ 10 , 15 ]. Inspired by work on non-human species, recent research also suggests social learning may influence human mate preferences.

While some research has shown that the presence of wedding rings on men did not increase women's preferences for those men [ 16 ], other studies have found that images of men labelled as married were more attractive than those labelled as single [ 17 ] and that women rate men as more desirable when they are shown surrounded by women than when they are shown alone or with other men [ 18 ]. Another study has shown that women prefer pictures of men that had been previously seen paired with images of other women who were looking at the face with smiling i.

Women therefore do appear to mimic the attitude of other women to particular men. Alongside partnership status, simple presence and expressions of attitude towards the male, the physical traits of the observed model may also play a role in social transmission of preference. Previous studies have shown that men and women are influenced in their judgements of attractiveness by the apparent choice of attractive members of the same sex.

Such a phenomenon suggests a more sophisticated form of mate-choice copying, whereby women can use the attractiveness of a partner that a man can acquire in order to judge the man's own attractiveness. Another study using images that were presented with a fictitious partner has shown that both men and women find a face paired with an attractive partner to be more attractive than one paired with an unattractive partner for a long-term but not a short-term relationship [ 21 ].

Other studies have also demonstrated a similar effect for women judging male attractiveness [ 22 ]. Effects specific to long-term preferences in humans suggest that social information is being used to infer non-physical traits that make a target a good long-term partner, such as resources or intelligence, which may be difficult to determine from physical appearance alone. Mate-choice copying usually in females has been proposed to be adaptive when there is a cost, such as time or energy, to evaluating the quality of potential mates or when discriminating between the quality of potential mates is difficult [ 23 ].

In this way, social transmission may allow individuals to assess a potential mate quickly and efficiently and perhaps helps individuals learn what to look for in a mate. In humans, there are many aspects to a partner other than their physical traits that may be valued, and others' choices may be used to infer positive or negative traits, such as behaviour, resources or intelligence, that are difficult to infer from physical appearance alone. These are the sort of traits we might expect to be important for long-term but not necessarily short-term relationships.

In humans, as most individuals will partner during their lives [ 24 ], indiscriminately valuing men with partners is unlikely to be a useful mechanism for identifying high-quality partners. Humans bring two factors to a mating relationship: Social information may be more useful for judging direct benefits, given that such information is less likely to be available from physical appearance than is information about indirect benefits.

In other species without male parental care, mate-choice copying most probably occurs because individuals are able to acquire information about the association between physical characteristics and the genetic quality of a prospective mate [ 10 ]. The results of Little et al. We note here that humans may be different from other species owing to both men and women highly valuing positive personality traits in long-term partners [ 26 ].

Importantly, such traits may be usefully inferred by examining the attractiveness of a person's partner. In fact, we might predict that in any species with monogamous relationships or biparental care, there will be pressure on both males and females to choose partners with qualities that are not necessarily signalled by physical appearance, leading to social information being both useful and used.

While avoidance of recently mated individuals may be of concern to males in species where male investment and relationship length are limited, evidence of recent mating may not be such an issue for species that might use social information for long-term mate-choice decisions. To date, work on humans has focused on the effects of social learning on perceptions of specific target individuals. In other words, these studies have only investigated how certain models increase attractiveness of their paired individual targets.

There are, however, obvious disadvantages to being attracted to individuals who are already partnered, particularly in a species like humans where pairs can remain in committed long-term relationships. Although humans do pursue short-term strategies and extra-pair copulations [ 27 ], the effects of social learning on preferences in humans appear to be more focused on long-term preferences than short-term preferences [ 21 ].

The potential of mate desertion or mate poaching [ 28 ], however, would allow social learners to take advantage of other people's choices. Generalization, whereby individuals learn about the traits of those chosen and find those traits attractive in other individuals, also provides a solution to this problem. Generalization is also probably an important component in the spread of preferences for certain traits through a population. Thus, generalization would be important in generating cross-cultural variation in preferences.

These include preferences for facial traits such as masculinity and symmetry [ 29 , 30 ]. In addition to these general preferences, studies and reviews have pointed to how individual and cultural differences in preferences are, or can also be, consistent with evolutionary predictions [ 31 — 34 ]. While considerable agreement is found in judgements of facial attractiveness within a particular culture, as well as across different cultures e.

Darwin [ 37 ], for example, was struck by cultural differences in attractiveness criteria, such as preferences for skin colour, body hair, body fat and practices such as lip ornamentation and tooth filing. Likewise, variation is seen in symmetry preferences across cultures; while individuals from the UK and the Hadza in Tanzania both demonstrate preferences for symmetry in faces, preferences for face symmetry are stronger in the Hadza [ 29 ].

Agreement within a culture and differences between cultures could, at least in part, be the result of learning about attractiveness by examining the choices of others in the population. Copying the traits of the choices of others, rather than their preference for a specific individual, could lead to the spread of agreement on which individuals and traits are attractive within a culture.

Because arbitrary choices can arise in different cultures, social learning can lead to cultures valuing different traits and the individuals who possess those traits. Of course, arbitrary choice is not itself adaptive, but could be the result of adaptive mechanisms operating on neutral traits. Using the judgement of others may then allow the copying of both adaptively important traits and also other arbitrary traits. Social learning may also influence evolutionarily relevant traits in adaptive ways, acting to tune individuals into traits that are locally adaptive.

For example, there is much variation in masculinity preferences, and this has been proposed to link to evolutionarily relevant trade-offs in choosing masculine partners [ 30 , 43 ]. If masculinity is more or less valuable under certain conditions, then social learning may provide a mechanism that promotes following locally adaptive choices. In this way, social learning mechanisms may: We note that there are also likely biases towards preferences for certain traits, such as symmetry, and these preferences may appear irrespective of learning, though learning may impact on them.

Research on preferences for body traits highlights potentially adaptive variation in attractiveness judgements. For example, there appears to be a positive association between body fat and prestige in the South Pacific [ 44 , 45 ]. In contrast, in cultures such as the UK and the USA, where food is abundant, individuals show strong preferences for low-weight, or thin, individuals [ 46 , 47 ]. These findings are in line with other preference studies where fatness is preferred in cultures where food is less abundant [ 48 — 50 ] and in individuals of low socio-economic status within cultures [ 51 ].

Potentially, as body fat, at least in women, is preferred in cultures that are at greater risk of food shortage [ 50 ], environmental conditions of subsistence living may place more emphasis on weight as a valued trait in partners. Individual differences are not necessarily restricted to comparisons among cultures but have also been reported within cultures. In line with ideas of food shortage, those in less affluent contexts prefer heavier women than those in more affluent contexts [ 51 ].

In previous studies, differences in weight preferences for female bodies were compared between Caucasian individuals from the UK and Zulu individuals from South Africa [ 52 ]. Such preferences appear to be the result of learning the norm of attractiveness, as Zulus who moved to the UK have preferences more similar to Caucasian individuals and UK residents of African origin who were born and raised in the UK also have similar preferences to Caucasian individuals [ 52 ].

In this way, preferences for weight need not be innate but may be adaptable to the environment in which individuals find themselves. The mechanism for learning what is attractive within a particular culture remains unclear, but social learning is a prime candidate. Previous studies on humans have focused on copying-like effects on preferences for specific individuals. In other words, they have shown that a particular individual becomes more attractive when paired with an attractive partner.

This is also seen in the non-human animal literature, where copying has been defined as simply the acceptance or rejection of potential mates on the basis of their having been accepted or rejected by others e. Copying effects, however, can be more general, with females showing preferences for novel males that are physically similar to males observed with other females [ 9 , 12 , 13 ].

This generalization of preferences for certain traits, and not just preferences for specific individuals, is important as it allows social transmission to have more wide-reaching consequences on the evolution of certain anatomical traits and preferences [ 55 ]. Social transmission of mate choice can have important consequences for sexual selection [ 55 ]. Darwin [ 37 ] laid out the first notions of how evolution of traits by preference could occur.

After a preference for any particular trait has arisen, such as a preference for large noses, females begin to reproduce with males in possession of large noses to produce offspring with both genes for large noses in males and genes for a preference for large noses in females. A feedback loop between genes for traits and preferences could produce stronger preferences and ever more elaborate expression of traits.

The initial preference could come from a sensory disposition evolved for another purpose [ 57 ], and hence may not necessarily serve a function, or because the preferred trait is associated with either phenotypic or genotypic quality [ 58 ]. Modelling work has shown that social transmission of preferences in humans can result in a directional pressure on both traits and preferences within populations, and this could potentially account for genetically based phenotypic variation between cultures [ 55 ].

There is another problem, alluded to earlier, with copying the choices of others. The problem is that the specific person by definition is already partnered and, at least in humans, the partnership could be long lasting, thus limiting the benefits of social copying. Generalized preferences for the traits of individuals who are chosen, rather than specific individuals themselves, means that copying effects will not necessarily lead to the problem of increasing your preference for a person who already has a partner, thus avoiding direct competition in competing for partnered individuals and increasing the adaptive benefits of social learning of preferences.

In our experiment, we extended previous research demonstrating that social learning can influence preferences for specific individuals to examine whether copying-like effects extend to judgements of novel faces that share the facial traits of members of the opposite sex that were observed paired with attractive partners. The experiment is designed to address at a small scale what could happen in different human populations. Our experimental conditions can be regarded as separate human populations that are exposed to choices of other individuals within their population.

While previous studies demonstrate attraction to specific individuals based on social learning, learning about the attractiveness of traits in general opens the possibility of social learning having much more wide-ranging effects on the preferences of a population. All participants were volunteers visiting an online testing site and were selected for being heterosexual and between the ages of 16 and Participants were largely white white: The study was approved by the ethics committee in the Department of Psychology, University of Stirling.

DHC FRS Dating And Mating Across Cultural Lines (blog #3). Instructor: Dr. Lalia Hekima Kiburi Spring Quarter Blog Question #3. Across cultures, there tends to be more similarities than differences in (), in their year study of dating, love, and marriage, found that or cultural duties when selecting a partner in line with social standards (Medora et al., ).

In evolutionary psychology and behavioral ecology , human mating strategies are a set of behaviors used by individuals to attract, select, and retain mates. Mating strategies overlap with reproductive strategies, which encompass a broader set of behaviors involving the timing of reproduction and the trade-off between quantity and quality of offspring see life history theory. Relative to other animals, human mating strategies are unique in their relationship with cultural variables such as the institution of marriage. The human desire for companionship is one of the strongest human drives.

Previous studies have established that Indians tend to be greater in collectivism and gender role traditionalism than Americans. The purpose of the present study was to examine whether these differences explained further cultural differences in romantic beliefs, traditional mate preferences, and anticipation of future difficulties in marital life.

Inspired by studies demonstrating mate-choice copying effects in non-human species, recent studies of attractiveness judgements suggest that social learning also influences human preferences. In the first part of our article, we review evidence for social learning effects on preferences in humans and other animals.

If I were to date a man of the Muslim faith and introduce him to my strictly Evangelical parents, I would first do research on Muslim values. I would want to find ways to compare the two faiths and show how they can be similar to each other. By doing so, when I first tell my parents about him, I can also prove to them that the religions are not incredibly different from one another. Next, I would also think of ways that my boyfriend and I share similar beliefs and values, excluding religion. This would be show the ways we get along and hold certain things of greater importance, despite our differences. Lastly, I would point out the ways that make him a good man.

For many people in their twenties, Internet dating is no less natural a way to meet than the night-club-bathroom line. You filled out a questionnaire, fed it into the machine, and almost instantly received a card with the name and address of a like-minded participant in some far-flung locale—your ideal match. Altfest thought this was pretty nifty. He called up his friend Robert Ross, a programmer at I. Each client paid five dollars and answered more than a hundred multiple-choice questions. Affected people. Birth control. Free love. TACT transferred the answers onto a computer punch card and fed the card into an I.









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