Kevin Lewis

January 05, 2019

The sexual double standard in the real world: Evaluations of sexually active friends and acquaintances
Michael Marks, Tara Young & Yuliana Zaikman
Social Psychology, forthcoming


The sexual double standard (SDS) has traditionally been studied by examining evaluations of hypothetical targets. Although much knowledge has been gained regarding the SDS by using this methodology, the literature thus far has suffered from a lack of ecological validity. The goal of the present study was to determine whether the SDS emerged in evaluations of participants’ real-life friends and acquaintances. Participants (n = 4,455) evaluated a single, randomly assigned male or female friend or acquaintance whose sexual history they were familiar with. Women were evaluated more negatively as their number of sexual partners increased, whereas number of partners was not related to evaluations of men. The SDS was not moderated by the closeness of the relationship between the participant and the target person.

How Do State Infertility Insurance Mandates Affect Divorce?
Inna Cintina & Bingxiao Wu
Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming


The technological developments in infertility treatments have increased the success of childbearing among women with impaired fertility. Fifteen U.S. states have mandated insurance coverage of assisted reproductive technology, thus subsidizing and increasing the use of the technology. We exploit the variation of mandates across states and over time to examine the relationship between state mandates and the likelihood of divorce. Using individual‐level data from the 1984–2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation, we find that women are less likely to divorce after the state adopts infertility insurance mandates. We find the effect is larger among women in their 40s, covered by private insurance, with a college degree, and without children.

Calibrating fear of rape: Threat likelihood and victimization costs
Melissa McDonald, Brenna Coleman & Samantha Brindley
Personality and Individual Differences, March 2019, Pages 326-330


Using an evolutionary perspective, we test the hypothesis that women's fear of rape will vary as a function of individual characteristics that increase vulnerability to rape, or which exacerbate the reproductive consequences thereof (i.e., mate value and conception risk). We also examine the internal structure and construct validity of the Fear of Rape (FOR) Scale (Senn & Dzinas, 1996). In a large sample of women (N = 1267) the FOR scale demonstrated uni-dimensionality, internal reliability, and construct validity. An interaction between conception risk and mate value indicated that mate value is a positive predictor of women's FOR among women at high conception risk, but not low conception risk. These findings are consistent with the idea that women possess a psychological system for protecting reproductive choice that is sensitive to both the threat likelihood and reproductive costs of victimization.

Mating Effort Predicts Human Menstrual Cycle Frequency
Jeffrey Gassen, Hannah Bradshaw & Sarah Hill
Evolutionary Psychology, November 2018


The human menstrual cycle is characterized by substantial variability both within and between women. Here, we sought to account for such variability by examining whether human menstrual cycle frequency varies as a function of the projected fitness payoffs associated with investment in mating effort. We used structural equation modeling to test the prediction that women whose environmental conditions or life histories favor heavier investment in mating effort would have shorter, more regular cycles. Results supported our hypothesis, revealing that women who project more mating success and have faster life history strategies exhibit greater mating effort and shorter, more regular menstrual cycles. An alternative model that specified cycle frequency as a predictor of mating effort was a poor fit for the data, lending support for the hypothesized directionality of the path between these variables. Together, these results provide some of the first empirical evidence that the length and regularity of the human menstrual cycle may be calibrated to investment in mating effort.

Who punishes promiscuous women? Both women and men, but only women inflict costly punishment
Naomi Muggleton, Sarah Tarran & Corey Fincher
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming


Across human societies, female sexuality is suppressed by gendered double standards, slut shaming, sexist rape laws, and honour killings. The question of what motivates societies to punish promiscuous women, however, has been contested. Although some have argued that men suppress female sexuality to increase paternity certainty, others maintain that this is an example of intrasexual competition. Here we show that both sexes are averse to overt displays of female sexuality, but that motivation is sex-specific. In all studies, participants played an economic game with a female partner whose photograph either signalled that she was sexually-accessible or sexually-restricted. In study 1, we found that men and women are less altruistic in a Dictator Game (DG) when partnered with a woman signalling sexual-accessibility. Both sexes were less trusting of sexually-accessible women in a Trust Game (TG) (study 2); women (but not men), however, inflicted costly punishment on a sexually-accessible woman in an Ultimatum Game (UG) (study 3). Our results demonstrate that both sexes are averse to overt sexuality in women, whilst highlighting potential differences in motivation.

When opportunity knocks, who answers? Infidelity, gender, race, and occupational sex composition
Christin Munsch & Jessica Yorks
Personal Relationships, December 2018, Pages 581-595


To date, the prevailing explanation for gender differences in infidelity has been evolutionary. Adaptive pressures lead men to seek sexual variety and, consequently, take advantage of opportunities for extramarital sex more than women. However, an often‐overlooked component of the evolutionary perspective is the way in which social context influences behavior. Thus, we extend previous theoretical accounts by examining the ways in which opportunity is facilitated or constrained by experiences of tokenism. The authors find, for White men, who tend to report favorable treatment in female‐dominated work, opportunity is positively associated with infidelity. For non‐White men, who report poor treatment in female‐dominated work, occupational sex composition and infidelity are negatively associated. For White and non‐White women, occupational sex composition is unrelated to infidelity.

Do the Low WHRs and BMIs Judged Most Attractive Indicate Higher Fertility?
William Lassek & Steven Gaulin
Evolutionary Psychology, October 2018


We examine the widely accepted view that very low waist–hip ratios and low body mass indices (BMIs) in women in well-nourished populations are judged attractive by men because these features reliably indicate superior fertility. In both subsistence and well-nourished populations, relevant studies of fertility do not support this view. Rather studies indicate lower fertility in women with anthropometric values associated with high attractiveness. Moreover, low maternal BMI predisposes to conditions that compromise infant survival. Consistent with these findings from the literature, new data from a large U.S. sample of women past reproductive age show that women with lower BMIs in the late teens had fewer live births, controlling for education, marital history, and race. They also had later menarche and earlier menopause compared with women with higher youth BMIs. In addition, data from the 2013 U.S. natality database show that mothers with lower prepregnancy BMIs have an increased risk of producing both low-birth-weight and preterm infants controlling for other relevant variables — conditions that would have adversely affected fitness over almost all of human evolution. Thus, a review of the relevant literature and three new tests fail to support the view that highly attractive women are more fertile.

‘Is she really going out with him?’: Attractiveness exchange and commitment scripts for romantic relationships
Lisa Hoplock, D.A.Stinson, Chantele Joordens
Personality and Individual Differences, March 2019, Pages 181-190


Three experiments document the contingencies of the attractiveness exchange-script. Experiment 1 (N = 219) demonstrates that observers assume that the more-attractive partner in a romantic couple is relatively uncommitted to their relationship, and this script is stronger when evaluating women than men. Experiment 2 (N = 165) demonstrates that observers assume that a less-attractive man compensates his more-attractive female partner by providing status and resources, but only in a committed relationship and only when the attractiveness-differential is moderate. Experiment 3 (N = 107) demonstrates that highly-attractive men engage in mate-poaching behavior (proximity seeking) when a romantically-involved woman is accompanied by a less-attractive boyfriend, but not when she is alone or accompanied by a boyfriend who matches her attractiveness. This research affirms that observers possess implicit scripts concerning the exchange of relational benefits within relationships, and validates important premises of evolutionary models of attraction by behaviorally demonstrating men's use of mate-poaching tactics.

Preference for dating out-group members: Not the same for all out-groups and cultural backgrounds
Courtney Allen & Ayse Uskul
International Journal of Intercultural Relations, January 2019, Pages 55-66


The goal of the present study was to examine dating preferences across three different out-group backgrounds (race/culture/ethnic, religious, socio-economic status) in three different cultural settings (the United Kingdom, the United States, India). A second goal was to explore the role of social psychological factors (social approval, social identity, previous dating experience) in out-group dating preferences. Findings from an online study (nUK = 227, nUS = 245, nIndia = 220) revealed that participants were less willing to date individuals from religious out-groups than individuals from other race/culture/ethnic or socio-economic status out-groups. Individuals’ perceptions of approval from friends and family positively predicted out-group dating preference for all backgrounds and samples. How much individuals identified with their in-groups and whether they have previous experience dating someone from an out-group varied across outgroup backgrounds and samples in predicting out-group dating preferences. Together, the findings provide valuable insight into intergroup relations and reveal the importance of studying out-group dating preferences across different out-group backgrounds and samples.

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