Can You Judge a Sleaze Book by Its Title?
The Texas billionaire’s pregnant bride: An evolutionary interpretation of
romance fiction titles
Anthony Cox & Maryanne Fisher, Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, December 2009, Pages 386-401
Abstract: In this paper, we focus on the titles of popular modern romance novels,
published by Harlequin Enterprises, in order to ascertain whether these books pertain to women’s sexspecific mating interests. Presumably, market demands have shaped the titles of Harlequins, such that books with titles that reflect topics of interest to women will sell the best. Two forms of analysis were undertaken to investigate whether the titles are in agreement with predictions informed by evolutionary psychology. First, we identified the most frequently occurring words to determine the most prevalent issues addressed by titles. Second, we performed a qualitative analysis to identify the most popular, recurring themes that appear in the titles. Our results indicate that Harlequin romance novel titles are congruent with women’s sex-specific mating strategies, which is surmised to be the reason for their continued international success.
(Nod to Kevin L)