Kissing Time

Kevin Lewis

December 31, 2022

Conformity to Heterosexual Engagement Proposal Scripts: Do Same-Sex Couples Benefit?
Alicia Cast & David Schweingruber
Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, December 2022 


Previous research on engagement proposals finds that conformity to a traditional engagement proposal script legitimates the couple in the eyes of the larger community. This script, however, has long been held to be heteronormative, enforcing norms about not only marriage but also gender. Using a sample of college students at a midwestern university, the authors explore whether conformity to a heterosexual engagement proposal script transfers the same social legitimacy to same-sex couples. Using vignettes, participants were asked to rate the strength and likelihood of staying together of three types of hypothetical couples (female-male, female-female, and male-male) on the basis of the traditionality of the engagement proposal script. Results suggest that relationships that conform to a traditional engagement proposal script are evaluated as being stronger and more likely to last, regardless of the sex category composition of the couple.

The Role of Accurate Self-Assessments in Optimizing Mate Choice
Kaitlyn Harper et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming 


Individuals are thought to seek the best possible romantic partner in exchange for their own desirability. We investigated whether individuals' self-evaluations were related to their partner choices and whether the accuracy of these self-evaluations was associated with mating outcomes. Participants (N = 1,354) took part in a speed-dating study where they rated themselves and others on mate value and indicated their willingness to date each potential partner. Individuals were somewhat accurate in their self-evaluations, and these self-evaluations were associated with individuals' revealed minimum and maximum standards for a potential partner, but not the number of partners they were interested in. Participants who overestimated their mate value were accepted by an equivalent number of partners compared with under-estimators, but the over-estimators were choosier and thus ended up with fewer (but similarly attractive) reciprocal matches. Results support social exchange theory and the matching hypothesis, and contrast findings that self-enhancement facilitates positive social outcomes.

Opting out of Marriage? Factors Predicting Non-Marriage by Midlife across Race, Ethnicity, and Gender
Xing Zhang & Sharon Sassler
Social Currents, forthcoming 


Over the last few decades, a growing proportion of Americans have never married. Factors contributing to adolescent expectations for marriage and the likelihood of non-marriage by midlife, however, remain understudied. We explore attitudinal and economic factors associated with non-marriage among a sample of White, Black, and Hispanic men and women in their early 30s through early 40s. Data are from Waves I, II, IV, and V of Add Health (n = 7,297). We use logistic regression analysis to assess how adolescent expectations to remain unmarried in adolescence and economic factors in adulthood are associated with never marrying among respondents approaching their fourth decade of life. Negative adolescent expectations regarding marriage are highly predictive of non-marriage in later life, particularly among White adults. Economic factors, such as educational attainment, educational mobility, earnings, and job instability, are more predictive of non-marriage for Black adults, and for men. Our findings suggest how ideational and structural factors challenge the institution of marriage at different times in the life course. Adolescent expectations for marriage are important predictors of subsequent union formation, but economic factors continue to differentiate union outcomes among older adults.

The Effect of Financial Resources on Homeownership, Marriage, and Fertility: Evidence from State Lotteries
George Bulman, Sarena Goodman & Adam Isen
NBER Working Paper, December 2022 


This paper leverages the universe of U.S. tax data and state lottery wins between 2000 and 2019 to estimate the causal effect of financial resources on three key lifecycle outcomes for young adults. We find large and persistent effects on homeownership, with a response function that exhibits substantial concavity but also an extremely high upper bound, and larger responses among higher-income individuals. Resources generate persistent increases in marriage for single men and women but do not increase the likelihood existing marriages are preserved. Fertility is modestly accelerated by a lottery win, but there is little effect on total fertility. Our results support a causal pathway behind differences in homeownership and marriage by socioeconomic status and inform theories of household formation and the family.

Pricing the Biological Clock: The Marriage Market Costs of Aging to Women
Corinne Low
Journal of Labor Economics, forthcoming 


This paper quantifies the causal negative impact of age on women's marriage market appeal using an experiment where real online daters rate hypothetical profiles with randomly assigned ages. Truthfulness is incentivized through the experiment's compensation: participants receive professional dating advice customized according to their ratings. The experiment shows that for every year a woman ages, she must earn $7,000 more annually to remain equally attractive to potential partners. This preference appears driven by women's asymmetric fertility decline with age, as it is only present for men without children and who have accurate knowledge of the age-fertility tradeoff.

Assortative mating on blood type: Evidence from one million Chinese pregnancies
Yao Hou et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 20 December 2022


Blood type is one of the most fundamental phenotypes in biological, medical, and psychological studies. Using a unique dataset of one million Chinese pregnancies, we find strong evidence from a group of statistical tests for assortative mating on blood type. After controlling for anthropometric and socioeconomic confounders, assortative mating remains robust.

Examining the interaction between altruism and resource potential in heterosexual women's mate preferences
Annabelle Skilton & Daniel Farrelly
Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming 


Previous research has shown that altruism is an important trait in romantic relationships, particularly in longer relationships, where it can signal the underlying characteristics (e.g., kindness) that are valued in good partners/parents. Further evidence of this has been observed when comparing the interaction between altruism and other traits (e.g., physical attractiveness) that may signal other qualities (e.g., good genes), where altruism was preferred by heterosexual women in long-term partners. To further explore the role of altruism in relationships and its interaction with other mate choice traits, the current study examined heterosexual women's preferences for altruism and a trait signaling good investment, that of resource potential. Here we found that, as predicted, women preferred altruistic male partners for long-term relationships, and that altruism was a more desired trait than resource potential in potential long-term partners. These findings support the view that altruism is a highly valued trait in relationship formation due to its signaling good partner/parent indicators, and is more important than resource potential when women choose long-term partners.


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