Hill social contexts act as a desirability

Hill
and Buss (2008) article was an ambitious attempt to further develop a theoretical
concept relatively known in evolutionary psychology as mate-choice copying
strategy, when assessing the mate value of a potential romantic partner.  Evolutionary
explanation of mate choice copying can be defined as the probability of
choosing a particular mate, as a potential romantic partner, increasing if they
have previously been chosen by other highly rated and attractive partners (Hill
& Buss, 2008). Evolutionarily, the costs of mate choice, the reproductive benefits associated with
that choice, and the ease with which individuals can discriminate adaptively
relevant differences, between members of the opposite sex, were the three
interacting factors of assessing mate value of a potential partner (Pruett-Jones,
1992). However, Hill and Buss (2008) investigated this theoretical concept, but
in terms of how social contexts act as a desirability heuristic in judging the
attractiveness of the mate-value. They demonstrated how humans use the presence
of same sex and opposite sex others as a desirability assessment to determine
the attractiveness of the person they are interested in.  Hill and Buss (2008) demonstrated in their paper
that women rate men as more desirable when they are surrounded by other women,
compared to when they are alone or when surrounded by the same sex others,
which is known as the desirability enhancement effect. The opposite effect for
men, is known as the enhancement diminution effect. This research really
painted the picture that previous research didn’t. Previously, mate-choice
copying was only observed in women, however, they demonstrated how males use
mate choice copying differently to women when it comes to desirability
assessment of a potential romantic partner. They found that men perceive women,
that are surrounded by other men, as less desirable and attractive compared to
when alone or surrounded by the same sex others, supporting the evolutionary
theory that men want women that are sexually accessible (Buss & Schmitt,
1993).

 

Evolutionarily,
it’s known that women were more selective than men in their mate choices due to
their heavier obligatory parental investment and they only focused on
securing a mate choice willing and able to invest in herself and her offspring (Buss,
1994/2003; Symons, 1979; Trivers, 1972). Therefore, a man’s financial prospects
and economic resources are held at a high pedestal by women, because it
demonstrates a man’s investment potential (Buss, 1989, 1994/2003; Buss & Schmitt,
1993). Having a heightened desire for men who are able to invest, meant that
woman found that the best mating options were already mated men, as their
investment potential were observable (Borgerhoff Mulder, 1988; Orians, 1969). However,
this came with lowered odds of immediate success, but the benefits associated
with mate-value assessments outweigh this cost in most mating circumstances (Pruett-Jones,
1992). Fisher (1958) observed that one motivation for women using other women’s
choices was for the reasons of having attractive offspring that most likely
will grow to be attractive too. Providing support for Hill and Buss (2008)
desirability enhancement effect, women focus on how attractive a man is,
financial status and who else of the same sex wants him. This suggests that
attractiveness and social status are the key important factors in mate-choice
copying. On the contrary, evolutionarily, men’s main focus is gaining
reproductive success and they mainly direct their mating efforts towards women
who seem to be available, who will increase their chances of gaining sexual
access and whose reproductive resources could be monopolized
(Buss & Schmitt, 1993). As it’s said, men are less likely to pursue women
who appear to be hard to get as it reduces their sexual access and reproductive
Success (Walster et al., 1973). Supporting the desirability diminution effect
and the rivalry assessment hypothesis that was demonstrated by Hill and Buss
(2008), as men find the other males surrounding the target potential mate to be
more attractive to the target.

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