Effects of Mate Value Difference on Relationship Length and Satisfaction
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The field of evolutionary psychology emphasizes the specialized psychological mechanisms that are present in humans that developed under the adaptive pressures of evolution faced by our ancestors. One major adaptive pressure that has been studied extensively involves mating and mate selection. Many studies have been performed which identified, and subsequently confirmed, that humans have a preference for certain traits and that these mate preferences are seen across the world, regardless of culture (e.g.: Buss & Barnes, 1986; Buss, 1989; Shackelford, Schmitt, & Buss, 2005; Stone, Shackelford, & Buss, 2007). Research has also been conducted on ―mate value,‖ the extent to which a person possessed these preferred traits and, consequently, how desirable they are as a mate (e.g.: Kenrick, Neuberg, Zierk, & Krones, 1994; Gutierres, Kenrick, & Partch, 1999; Buston & Emlen, 2003). Mate value is, for instance, one determining factor in mate choice because one’s options may be broadened or narrowed as a result of one’s mate value—highly desirable individuals can afford to be more choosy regarding a potential mate because they are valued highly by many, whereas individuals with low mate value are perceived as having less to offer and will likely have to settle when choosing a mate. Although much is known and has been studied concerning mate preferences and mate value, such as the above studies, research concerning differences in mate value between partners is lacking. The goal of the experiments reported here was to investigate if the difference in mate value of a couple has an effect on the predicted length of their relationship.