RNDP 20: Closer to a Unified Theory - Prestige

Dating scholars continue to expand our knowledge of the dynamics involved in two humans hooking up. This week, Jeffrey K. Snyder, Lee A. Kirkpatrick, and H. Clark Barrett learned that young women at two universities expressed preferences for men described as prestigious over men described as acting in a dominating way off a sports field.

Women prefer prestige over dominance in mates

Dominance preferred only among male-male competitions

Los Angeles, CA – December 17, 2008 – A new study in the journal Personal Relationships reveals that women prefer mates who are recognized by their peers for their skills, abilities, and achievements, while not preferring men who use coercive tactics to subordinate their rivals. Indeed, women found dominance strategies of the latter type to be attractive primarily when men used them in the context of male-male athletic competitions.

Jeffrey K. Snyder, Lee A. Kirkpatrick, and H. Clark Barrett conducted three studies with college women at two U.S. universities. Participants evaluated hypothetical potential mates described in written vignettes. The studies were designed to examine the respective effects of men's dominance and prestige on women's assessments of men.

Women are sensitive to the context in which men display domineering behaviors when they evaluate men as potential mates. For example, the traits and behaviors that women found attractive in athletic competitions were unattractive to women when men displayed the same traits and behaviors in interpersonal contexts. Notably, when considering prospective partners for long-term relationships, women's preferences for dominance decrease, and their preferences for prestige increase.

"These findings directly contradict the dating advice of some pop psychologists who advise men to be aggressive in their social interactions. Women most likely avoid dominant men as long-term romantic partners because a dominant man may also be domineering in the household." the authors conclude. [EurekAlert]

I expect Snyder, Kirkpatrick and Barrett have requested further funding to find out who the women actually go out with. Unless they plan to first investigate whether women express a preference for prestigious men over funny guys.

1 comment:

Jo Stockton said...

Funny guys may have a leg up if they know how to tease someone appropriately.

I was thinking about your RNDP when I read an article on teasing and its affect on courtship in the NY Times a few weeks ago. The author was interviewed on Q today and apparently dating as we know it would be radically different if appropriate teasing wasn't involved.

Article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/07/magazine/07teasing-t.html