chapter  10
17 Pages

An Evolutionary Account of Strategic Pluralism in Human Mating: Changes in Mate Preferences Across the Ovulatory Cycle: Jeffry A. Simpson and Jonathon LaPaglia

In this chapter, we first review some basic evolutionary concepts and principles associated with mating, including the twin concepts of sexual selection and adaptations, evolutionary functional analysis, and trade-offs in mating contexts. We then discuss mating strategies and tactics, the extensive within-sex variation that exists on various mating measures, the concept of good genes sexual selection, and the tenets of the Strategic Pluralism Model of mating (SPM; Gangestad & Simpson, 2000). SPM melds principles of “good provider” and “good genes” mate selection and specifies some of the personal and environmental conditions under which women may have evolved to preferentially value and “trade-off” evidence of a mate’s investment potential for evidence of his viability (e.g., good condition and perhaps immune system functioning). After outlining what is currently known about women’s mate preferences across the ovulatory cycle, we showcase two recent studies that have examined women’s mate preferences in response to men’s social behavior depending on where women are in their ovulatory cycle. Supporting SPM, both studies confirm that certain behavioral cues displayed by men are differentially attractive to women, depending on: (1) whether women are evaluating men as long-term or short-term mates, and (2) whether or not they are at peak fertility. These highly specific patterns of findings are difficult to derive or anticipate from nonevolutionary models of human mating. We conclude the chapter by discussing the wider theoretical implications of these and other recent findings.