Date night

Kevin Lewis

March 12, 2016

There Are Plenty of Fish in the Sea: The Effects of Choice Overload and Reversibility on Online Daters’ Satisfaction With Selected Partners

Jonathan D’Angelo & Catalina Toma

Media Psychology, forthcoming

Online dating is often lauded for improving the dating experience by giving singles large pools of potential partners from whom to choose. This experiment investigates how the number of choices online daters are given, and whether these choices are reversible, affects romantic outcomes. Drawing on the choice overload and decision reversibility theoretical frameworks, we show that, a week after making their selection, online daters who chose from a large set of potential partners (i.e., 24) were less satisfied with their choice than those who selected from a small set (i.e., 6), and were more likely to change their selection. While choice reversibility did not affect daters’ satisfaction, those who selected from a large pool and had the ability to reverse their choice were the least satisfied with their selected partner after one week. The results advance understanding of how media features related to choice affect interpersonal evaluations.


Nice guys finish first when presented second: Responsive daters are evaluated more positively following exposure to unresponsive daters

Stephanie Spielmann & Geoff MacDonald

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2016, Pages 99-105

Decisions about who to date are increasingly being made while viewing a large pool of dating prospects simultaneously or sequentially (e.g., online dating). The present research explores how the order in which dating prospects are evaluated affects the role in dating decisions of a variable crucial to relationship success - partner responsiveness. In Study 1, participants viewed dating profiles varying in physical attractiveness and responsiveness. Some participants viewed responsive profiles first whereas others viewed unresponsive profiles first. Results revealed that responsive targets were rated more favorably following exposure to unresponsive targets, regardless of level of attractiveness. Study 2 specifically targeted how contrast effects affect romantic evaluations of a physically unattractive, yet responsive, target. Results again revealed that unattractive, responsive targets were viewed more favorably after exposure to unresponsive dating prospects, regardless of these unresponsive prospects' physical attractiveness. These results highlight the importance of the context in which dating decisions are made.


Accounting for Age in Marital Search Decisions

Nuray Akın & Brennan Platt

European Economic Review, forthcoming

Spouse quality, measured by educational attainment, varies significantly with the age at which an individual marries, peaking in the mid-twenties then declining through the early-forties. Interestingly, this decline is much sharper for women than men, meaning women increasingly marry less educated men as they age. Moreover, quality has worsened for educated women over several decades, while it has improved for men. Using a non-stationary sequential search model, we identify and quantify the search frictions that generate these age-dependent marriage outcomes. We find that single-life utility is typically the dominant friction, though college women in the 1950 and 1970 cohorts are affected even more by deteriorating suitor quality. Regardless of educational status, individual choice (as opposed to pure luck) is pivotal in explaining marriage market outcomes earlier in life.


Men's revealed preferences regarding women's promiscuity

Kitae Sohn

Personality and Individual Differences, June 2016, Pages 140-146

Men have evolved to exhibit a desire for chastity and sexual fidelity and an abhorrence of promiscuity in long-term mates. We investigated whether these preferences manifest themselves even in an unlikely situation (prostitution) by observing men's behavior. We considered 8817 prostitutes under age 45 who worked in Indonesian cities in 2002-2004. We measured female promiscuity by experience in prostitution and applied OLS to determine whether clients paid more to less experienced prostitutes. After controlling for a set of characteristics of prostitutes and clients, we found that compared to prostitutes with an experience ≤ 1 year, prostitutes with an experience of 2-4 years earned 4.2% less, and those with an experience > 4 years earned 7.7% less. The difference is great because a value of 4.2% is just under the daily expenditure per capita on food. The relationship was more pronounced for prostitutes of high fertile age and for prostitutes with greater negotiability. It seems that the preferences are strongly built in men's psychology.


Fifty Shades Flipped: Effects of Reading Erotica Depicting a Sexually Dominant Woman Compared to a Sexually Dominant Man

Emily Ann Harris, Michael Thai & Fiona Kate Barlow

Journal of Sex Research, forthcoming

The present study examined the effects of reading submission- and dominance-themed erotica on attitudes toward women and rape, ideal partner preferences, and subjective sexual arousal. Heterosexual male (n = 241) and female (n = 240) participants read one of three erotic stories depicting male dominance, female dominance, or no dominance, or a fourth nonerotic control story. First, we found that after reading about a sexually dominant man, women reported increased benevolent sexism compared to men, and men reported increased rape myth acceptance compared to women. Second, men and women showed a similar level of preference for partner dominance after reading about a sexually dominant woman. This was in contrast to the typical pattern revealed in all other conditions, whereby women were more likely to favor dominant partners relative to men. Finally, we found no evidence to support the hypothesis that the story describing male dominance would be the most arousing. Rather, all three erotic stories were equally sexually arousing compared to the control condition, and men and women did not differ in the extent to which the erotic stories aroused them. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.


Men's sociosexuality is sensitive to changes in mate availability

Steven Arnocky, Nathan Woodruff & David Schmitt

Personal Relationships, March 2016, Pages 172-181

Correlational research has linked mate availability to human sexual behavior, whereby unrestricted sociosexuality seems to be most common under conditions of female abundance. In this study, 71 heterosexual men were randomly assigned to one of two mate availability priming conditions, mate scarcity or mate abundance, and subsequently completed measures of sociosexuality as well as infidelity intentions. Results indicated that men in the mate abundance condition reported stronger sociosexual attitudes and desires, and among those currently in relationships, stronger infidelity intentions. These findings were contrasted with those from a separate sample of 66 heterosexual undergraduate women. Mate scarcity had no effects on women's sociosexuality or infidelity intentions. Findings suggest that when mates are scarce, men will adopt a sociosexual orientation aimed at maintaining a single partner.


The effects of resource availability and relationship status on women's preference for facial masculinity in men: An eye-tracking study

Minna Lyons et al.

Personality and Individual Differences, June 2016, Pages 25-28

Previous research has demonstrated that perceived availability of environmental resources affects the mate choice of females. However, it is unclear whether women's partnership status influences the effects of environmental circumstances on masculinity preference. Further, the role of environmental scarcity on women's gaze patterns when evaluating male faces has not been investigated. The current study investigated how relationship status and environmental factors affected women's gaze patterns and preference towards masculinised and feminised male faces. Twenty-two participants in a long-term romantic relationship, and 26 who were single, were primed with either a high (‘wealthy’) or low (‘scarcity’) resource availability scenario. They then completed a facial masculinity/femininity preference task while eye-gaze behaviour was measured. Women in a relationship (but not single women) had an increased preference towards masculine faces in the scarcity condition, compared to the wealthy condition; this preference was also reflected in eye gaze behaviour. In contrast, single women had longer first fixations on feminine rather than masculine faces when evaluating them as long-term partners in the wealthy condition, but no overt preference for either face type. These findings reveal the importance of taking women's relationship status into account in investigations of the role of environmental influences on masculinity preferences.


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