An Evolutionary Psychological Investigation of Mating Strategies in Romania (Ii) - How Do Single versus Attached Individuals Search New Partners?

Article excerpt

Abstract

The attention of evolutionary psychologists studying the mate-choice processes in humans has recently started to be oriented not only towards single individuals, but also towards individuals that are already involved in stable relationships. The aim of our study was to include the variable marital status (i.e., single versus attached individuals) in the analysis of mate-choice strategies of Romanian individuals, as reflected by the personal advertisements market. We performed content analysis of 400 personal advertisements (100 ads places by single men, 100 ads places by attached men, 100 ads placed by single women, and 100 ads placed by attached women). Several categories of attributes with mate-choice evolutionary significance were quantified, such as: physical, material, educational and emotional attributes. Single Romanian men listed a significantly higher number of emotional attributes to describe themselves than the attached men. Compared to the single women, attached women used a significantly higher number of self-descriptive attributes. Single men requested a higher number of emotional and educational attributes from their sought partners. Attached women requested a significantly higher number of physical, educational and material attributes from their sought partners than the single women. These results are discussed in relation to several paradigms from evolutionary psychology and to the findings of a previous study of the Romanian mate-choice market.

Keywords: parental investment theory, gender and marital status, mating strategies, Romanian mate-choice market

The most accepted theory behind the current literature on human mating is the theory of parental investment (Trivers, 1972), which states that during mate search, given the asymmetry in parental investment of the two sexes, females should focus on attributes reflecting resources, whereas males should focus on indicators of health and fertility. In other words, in humans, as in other species, this asymmetry in parental investment results in sex-specific differences in mate preferences.

Across various human cultures (including Romania), there are numerous studies showing that women, as opposed to men, express a stronger preference for attributes referring to resources necessary for the survival and success of offspring developing from their fertilized eggs (Schmitt, 2005, Rusu & Bencic, 2007). Previous investigations indicate that women tend to be generally oriented to several resource-related attributes, such as: financial wealth, social status, desire for children and desire for commitment (Bereczkei, Voros, Gal, & Bernath, 1997; Buss, 1985; Buss, 1989; Buss et al., 1992; Buss, 1994; Waynforth & Dunbar, 1995). Since all these attributes are age-dependent traits in men (Buss, 1989; Boone, 1986), women usually seek older partners. Like the males of other sexually reproducing species, men commonly select their mating partners on the basis of cues that correlate with female fecundity, such as youthfulness, health, and physical attractiveness (Gwynne, 1981; Buss, 1989; Kenrick & Keefe, 1992; Pawlowski & Dunbar, 1999; Rusu & Bencic, 2007).

In a previous study of the Romanian advertisements market (Rusu & Bencic, 2007), we investigated the mating strategies of heterosexual single individuals reflected by personal advertisements. The content analysis of 400 online personal advertisements was performed (i.e., 200 placed by men-seekingwomen and 200 placed by women-seeking-men). We quantified those attributes that were known from previous studies on human mate-choice as being of evolutionary significance (Greenless & McGrew, 1994; Pawlowski & Dunbar, 1999; Pawlowski & Koziel, 2002; Rusu & Bencic, 2007; Thiessen, Young, & Burroughs, 1992). The findings were in agreement with similar previous studies and with Trivers's predictions of parental investment theory (1972), meaning that females should focus on attributes reflecting resources, whereas males should focus on indicators of health and fertility. …