Perhaps you've seen the study that found that men are more likely to pay for dinner if their date is attractive. For today, rather than going into the sociopolitical implications of this, we'd just like to give you a few highlights from the study itself, whose language is pretty amusing.
The basics: in a hypothetical dating scenario, scientists found that 45% of women and 30% of men (everyone in the experiment identified as straight) wanted the other person to pay for a meal. Women were more likely to want a man to pay if they found him attractive, men were more likely to want to pay for women they found attractive, and people who thought they themselves were hot were more likely to want their dates to pay. Now that you know the score, let's take a look at some snippets from the study, so you can see what evolutionary psychologists sound like when they talk about life:
Early human feeding ecology organized human family units into systems where a man provided food sources, particularly meats, to a woman and the woman cooked the food and maintained the household and family (Carmody, Cone, Wrangham, & Secor, 2009; Carmody & Wrangham, 2009; Wrangham, Jones, Laden, Pilbeam, & Conklin-Brittain, 1999).
A number of studies have shown that an individual's attractiveness relates to his or her ability to obtain romantic dates (De Vries, Swenson, & Walsh, 2008; Kurzban & Weeden, 2005; Walster, Aronson, Abrahams, & Rottman, 1966; Woll & Young, 1989).
It has also been shown that high-quality men (i.e., with fewer asymmetries) report that they invest less in their ongoing relationships, and are more likely to pursue a strategy of maximizing their number of mates than less attractive men (Gangestad & Simpson, 2000; Rhodes, Simmons, & Peters, 2005).
Resources used to attract opposite sex interest could have been used elsewhere; perhaps on another date, or investing in a bank account.
[F]emale participants preferred that more attractive dates pay for them, indicating a preference to receive resources and enter into a potential courtship exchange with more attractive mates and a preference to avoid entering a possible reciprocation relationship with less attractive potential mates.
The effects of attractiveness on dating preferences support the notion that payment and acceptance of payment on dates are part of a process of exchanges that occur during courtship that may potentially lead to the development of a sexual relationship.
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