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Attracting a Partner. Evolutionary Psychology Dr. Kelley Kline FSU-PC. Attracting mates:. Just because you find a mate who is desirable (has resources, etc.) doesn’t mean you will attract this mate.

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attracting a partner

Attracting a Partner

Evolutionary Psychology

Dr. Kelley Kline


attracting mates
Attracting mates:
  • Just because you find a mate who is desirable (has resources, etc.) doesn’t mean you will attract this mate.
  • Buss argues that success in attracting mates—is based on whether you are able to provide signals that you will deliver the benefits (goods) desired by a member of the opposite sex.
  • You not only have to appear to possess the qualities desired, but also must successfully competewith rivals to attract a mate.
two factors are needed to successfully attract a mate
Two Factors are needed to successfully attract a mate:
  • 1. Providing signals that one can fulfill a potential mate’s desires (Buss, 2003).


2. Counteracting the seductive signals of rivals (beating the competition).

competing for mates
Competing for mates:
  • All animals have evolved tactics for defeating rivals for desirable mates.
  • In humans, the most useful method for derogating one’s rivals are verbal derogations.
  • Put-downs, slurs, & implying material to damage a rival’s reputation are all effective means by which an individual may derogate his/her rivals.
why verbal derogation works
Why verbal derogation works:
  • Buss argues these tactics work because they exploit psychological mechanisms that predispose people of the opposite sex to be sensitive to certain valuable qualities in potential mates (resources, appearance).
  • E.g., a female who tells a male she’s interested in that a rival female is promiscuous will hurt the rivals chances of a relationship with the male, if the male values fidelity & chasteness. If he doesn’t value these qualities, this may back-fire, especially if he is interested in short term mating.
i displaying resources
I. Displaying Resources:
  • As men & women seek different characteristics in a potential mate, males & females will display different resources.
  • A. Men:
  • 1. Males display tangible resources (money, power, status).
  • Examples:
  • flashing a lot of money
  • driving an expensive car
  • telling others how important they are at work
  • listing their accomplishments (which shows ambition).
men displaying resources
Men-displaying resources
  • Men also may deceive women about their level of resources by lying or providing misleading information about their careers.
  • 2. Men also derogate their rivals’ resources. To do this, men may spread rumors about the rival, put-down the rivals’ accomplishments, poke fun at rivals’ appearance, & implying rival may have a STD (this is very negative to women).
  • Men also will tell women rivals are poor, have no money, lack ambition, and drive inexpensive cars (Buss, 2003).
3 snappy dressers attract women
3. Snappy dressers attract women:
  • Women find men who dress well to be very attractive for both short & long term mating, as expensive clothing suggests the presence of resources & future earning potential.
  • One study had the same males dressed in a Burger King uniform, a polo-type shirt or dress shirt with a designer tie, a navy blazer, and a Rolex watch.
  • Women viewing photos showed they weren’t willing to date, have sex with, or marry men in the low status clothing, but would consider all the above with men in expensive clothing. Guess clothes do make the man!!!
b women displaying resources
B. Women-Displaying resources:
  • For women, displaying resources means appearing as youthful and attractive as possible.
ii displaying commitment
II. Displaying Commitment:
  • Men who display willingness to commit are likely to attract mates. This can be done by showing acts of kindness, love, and devotion.
  • Buss argues that as these are difficult to fake, because they require displays of genuine emotion repeatedly over time, it would be costly for males to engage in this behavior unless they are seeking long term mates.
  • Men interested in casual sex aren’t willing to waste their time displaying commitment. Thus, the reliability of commitment, is an effective strategy for women to determine if men are interested in a long term relationship.
ways men can signal commitment
Ways men can signal commitment:
  • Discussing marriage
  • Commitment of resources to his mate
  • Offering to change his religion for her
  • Showing deep concern for her problems
  • Commitment to be there in times of need
  • Spending lots of time with her
  • Calling her frequently and dating her frequently
  • Showing compassion & sensitivity to her
  • Performing helpful deeds
cad elert when men use signals of commitment deceptively for short term mating
Cad Elert---when men use signals of commitment deceptively for short term mating!!!!
  • Some men exploit the tactic of displaying commitment for long term relationships to attract women for short term mating.
  • Tooke & Camire found that men will act more polite than they really are, appear to be more considerate than they really are, and seem more vulnerable than they actually are to deceptively attract women for short term mating.
  • In other words, men say & do what women want to hear for casual liaisons. However, “time wounds all heals,” men will quickly lose interest if nothing occurs.
iii displaying physical prowess
III. Displaying Physical Prowess:
  • Men display their strength nearly twice as often a women do and exhibit athletic prowess about 50% more often than women when dating.
  • Flexing muscles, playing sports, lifting weights, & boasting one’s athletic ability & accomplishments are tactics employed by men to attract women.
  • Men also derogate their rivals physical & athletic abilities.
  • Note: This is more effective for casual mating than long term mating.
iv displaying bravado self confidence
IV. Displaying Bravado & Self-Confidence
  • Displays of confidence and high self-esteem are useful strategies for attracting casual sex partners, more than long term mates.
  • Bragging about one’s accomplishments, being pretentious or arrogant (boastful of oneself), and showing off are all tactics used by men to attract short term partners (Buss, 2003).
v enhancing appearance
V. Enhancing Appearance:
  • Females try to appear as youthful and attractive as possible to attract mates.
  • Women will compete with one another on the basis of appearance to attract mates.
  • To do this, women will:
  • wear makeup to enhance facial appearance
  • get plastic surgery to improve facial and/or body’s appearance (botox, collagen, breast implants)
  • Use exercise to alter body’s shape
  • Dye hair color
  • Shave legs & remove other unwanted body hair
women s derogation of rivals
Women’s derogation of rivals:
  • Women will derogate a rivals appearance by:
  • Calling her rival fat or ugly
  • Spreading rumors the rival is promiscuous or frigid (this works for both short & long term mating)
  • Calling attention to the rivals physical flaws
vi displaying fidelity
VI. Displaying Fidelity
  • Showing signs of fidelity are great tactics for attracting long term mates.
  • Indicating a desire to only date the desired mate.
  • Spending all your time & resources on the desired mate
  • Are good indicators of fidelity & a willingness to invest in the mate and his/her offspring.