Evidence of functional specializations for mate choice and mate competition in women’s episodic memory

David Stuart Smith, Benedict Christopher Jones, Kevin Allan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

Abstract

Objective,
Spatial memory in women appears to be sensitive to the locations of attractive competitors. It also shows enhanced memory for objects associated with men, but not women, displaying exaggerated sex-typical features. These results suggest the intra-sex bias linked to mate competition does not extend to ‘what’ takes place during encounters with attractive women and the opposite-sex bias linked to mate choice does not extend to ‘where’ men are. Here we test whether these biases are circumscribed to spatial and non-spatial types of information. If this is the case, the intra-sex bias should be evident in women’s memory for the location of women displaying exaggerated feminine features. By contrast, men’s masculinity should not modulate women’s ability to remember their location.

Methods
Participants saw a campus map onscreen and, in sex blocks, the locations of 10 masculinised or feminised faces. After each block, participants were asked to identify each individual’s previous locations. They also completed the revised Sociosexuality Orientation Inventory; a measure of their mating strategy.

Results
Women’s memory for the location of other women was enhanced by exaggerated sex-typical shape cues in faces (i.e., femininity). By contrast, women’s memory for the location of men was not modulated by sexually dimorphic shape cues. There were no effect of sociosexual orientation.

Conclusions
These findings suggest that women’s spatial memories are sensitive to the locations of attractive competitors (i.e., women with feminine features). However, no such benefits were observed for men’s face shapes. When considered along with our previous findings, these results suggest that women preferentially retain different kinds of episodic information for encounters with potential mates and competitors for mates, reinforcing the important distinction between ‘what’ and ‘where’ in memory.



Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventEuropean Human Behaviour and Evolution Association Annual Meeting - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 24 Mar 201328 Mar 2013

Conference

ConferenceEuropean Human Behaviour and Evolution Association Annual Meeting
CountryNetherlands
CityAmsterdam
Period24/03/1328/03/13

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Evidence of functional specializations for mate choice and mate competition in women’s episodic memory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this