Human vocabulary use as display
Jeremy Rosenberg & Richard Tunney, Evolutionary Psychology, Summer 2008, Pages 538-549
Abstract: The average human vocabulary consists of approximately 20,000 word families, yet only 6000-7000 word families are required to understand most communication. One possible explanation for this level of redundancy is that vocabulary size is selected as a fitness indicator and is used for display. Human vocabulary size correlates highly with measurable intelligence and, when choosing potential mates, individuals actively prefer other correlates of intelligence, such as education. Here we show that males used more low frequency words after an imaginary romantic encounter with a young female shown in a photograph relative to when they viewed photographs of older females. Females used fewer low frequency words when they imagined a romantic encounter with a young male shown in a photograph relative to when they viewed photographs of older males. These differences in male and female vocabulary displays may be related to sex differences in investment costs in offspring.
Attractiveness, body size, masculine sex roles and 2D:4D ratios in men
Anthony Bogaert, Catherine Fawcett & Luanne Jamieson
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming
Abstract: Several studies have examined men’s attractiveness in relation to the index -to-ring-finger (2D:4D) ratio, which may be linked to prenatal androgen levels. These studies have yielded conflicting results and have not controlled for related characteristics (i.e., body size and masculine personality/sex role). The present study again examined this relation and attempted to address these limitations. Participants were 273 men recruited at university. The men were assessed for physical attractiveness (both self-perceived and other-rated), body size (height, BMI), 2D:4D ratios and masculine personality/sex roles. Results showed that masculine personality /sex role and height predicted men’s attractiveness. Results also indicated that a low (more masculine) 2D:4D ratio in the right hand was related to men’s attractiveness. This relationship occurred controlling for body size and personality /sex roles, along with relevant demographics. The findings suggest that women may be partially attracted to men because of their relative level of prenatal androgen exposure; and that features of physical attractiveness in men are, at least partly, androgen-based markers of fitness detectable by women.
Dissing Oneself versus Dissing Rivals: Effects of Status, Personality, and
Sex on the Short-Term and Long-Term Attractiveness of Self-Deprecating and
Gil Greengross & Geoffrey Miller
Evolutionary Psychology, Summer 2008, Pages 393-408
Abstract: This study explores the adaptive functions and design features of self- and other-deprecating humor. Sixty-four female and 32 male college students participated in a two-part study. In the first part, we examined the relationships among participant demographics, personality traits, and preferences for producing different types of humor. Men report using more other-deprecating humor than women do, and the use of other-deprecating humor decreases with age for both sexes. In the second part of the study, each participant listened to tape recordings of opposite-sex people who were described as having different levels of status, and who produced different types of humor; then participants rated each person’s attractiveness as a potential short-term and long-term mate. Humor type and presenter status had no effects on short-term attractiveness, but self-deprecating humor by high-status presenters (but not low-status presenters) increased long-term attractiveness for both sexes. These results are discussed in the light of sexual selection theory and costly signaling theory.
Menstrual cycle phases and female receptivity to a courtship solicitation:
An evaluation in a nightclub
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming
Abstract: Previous research has demonstrated that female behaviors toward men or sexual interest are different across the menstrual cycle. However, women's receptivity to an explicit courtship solicitation still remained in question. In a field experiment, 20-year-old women were approached by 20-year-old male confederates in nightclubs and solicited to dance during the period when slow songs were played. A survey was administered to the women in order to obtain information about the number of days since the onset of previous menses. It was found that women in their fertile phase agreed more favorably to the dance request than women in their luteal phase or in their menstrual phase.
The association between men’s ratings of women as desirable long-term mates
and individual differences in women’s sexual attitudes and behaviors
Lorne Campbell, Lee Cronk, Jeffry Simpson, Alison Milroy, Carol Wilson &
Personality and Individual Differences, March 2009, Pages 509-513
Abstract: This research examined whether individual differences in women’s sexual attitudes and behaviors are associated with men’s ratings of them as desirable long-term mates when men were exposed to only pictures of women’s faces. Links between sexual attitudes and behaviors with the presence of more masculine facial features were also assessed. Women completed the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory (SOI; Simpson & Gangestad, 1991) and had their faces photographed (without make-up). Facial markers of masculinity were measured, and female raters then independently rated the perceived masculinity of each face. Following this, male raters independently evaluated each woman’s face on two dimensions: desirability as a long-term mate and trustworthiness. More sexually unrestricted women, who pose a greater threat of future infidelity, had more masculine facial features, and were evaluated as being both less desirable long-term mates and less trustworthy in relationships. Exploratory analyses suggested that men rated women with higher SOI scores less positively partly because these women had a more masculine facial appearance.
Men’s Faces Convey Information about Their Bodies and Their Behavior: What
You See is What You Get
Melanie Shoup & Gordon Gallup
Evolutionary Psychology, Summer 2008, Pages 469-479
Abstract: We investigated whether men’s faces contain embedded cues that signal differences in individual fitness. Data on shoulder-to-hip ratios (SHR), grip strength, sexual history, and facial photographs were collected from male college students. Female college students rated the photographs for attractiveness We found a striking relationship between ratings of facial attractiveness and body morphology. Males with attractive faces had significantly more masculine, wedge-shaped SHRs. Ratings of facial attractiveness accounted for over 25% of the variance in this sexually dimorphic dimension of male body configuration. Male students with attractive faces also had higher grip strength scores, and more sexual partners. These findings are consistent with a growing body of evidence showing that facial features contain important cues to fitness and hormonal status.
Face Value: Information and Signaling in an Illegal Market
Trevon Logan & Manisha Shah
NBER Working Paper, April 2009
Abstract: Economists argue that rich information environments and formal enforcement of contracts are necessary to prevent market failures when information asymmetries exist. We test for the necessity of formal enforcement to overcome the problems of asymmetric information by estimating the value of information in an illegal market with a particularly rich information structure: the online market for male sex work. We assemble a rich dataset from the largest and most comprehensive online male sex worker website to estimate the effect of information on pricing. We show how clients of male sex workers informally police the market in a way that makes signaling credible. Using our institutional knowledge, we also identify the specific signal male sex workers use to communicate quality to clients: face pictures. We find that the premium to information is large and that it is due entirely to face pictures. More importantly, the premium is in the range of premiums to information estimated for legal markets. We also show that the evidence is inconsistent with alternative explanations such as beauty premiums. The findings provide novel evidence on the ability of rich information environments to overcome the problems of asymmetric information without formal enforcement, and show that the value of information in illegal markets is similar to its value in legal markets.
(Nod to Kevin L)