Mating strategies predict women’s memories for encounters with men

David Stuart Smith, Benedict Christopher Jones, Kevin Allan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

Abstract

Objectives:
Masculine characteristics in men may signal mate-choice-relevant qualities to women.
Although our recent studies have demonstrated that women’s episodic memory is sensitive to cues of sex-typicality in men’s faces and voices it is not known if these potentially adaptive memory biases co-vary with individual differences in women’s mating goals. Consequently, we investigated the extent to which individual differences in women’s mating strategies predict the strength and direction of memory biases for encounters with masculine or feminine men.

Methods
Women completed a standard episodic memory task that required them to recall specific details associated with masculinised and feminised versions of men’s and women’s faces that they had previously seen. Our participants then completed the revised version of the Sociosexuality Orientation Inventory (SOI-R), a widely-used measure of individual differences in openness to pursuing short-term mating strategies.

Results
Analyses of performance on the episodic memory task revealed a positive correlation between women’s scores on the SOI-R and the extent to which they demonstrated better recollection of details associated with masculinised versus feminised men. While women reporting being more open to short-term relationships showed better recall of episodic detail involving masculine men, women reporting being less open to short-term relationships showed better recall for episodes involving feminine men. By contrast with these findings for men’s faces, women’s scores on the SOI-R did not predict their memory for details associated with masculinised versus feminised women.

Conclusions
Together these findings suggest that biases in women’s memory for episodes involving men, but not women, are sensitive to mating-relevant factors, such as men’s physical characteristics and women’s own sexual strategies. These results therefore imply that women’s memory is tuned to information associated with desirable men, and may be functionally adapted for mate choice.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventEuropean Human Beahviour & Evolution Association Annual Meeting - Durham, United Kingdom
Duration: 25 Mar 201228 Mar 2012

Conference

ConferenceEuropean Human Beahviour & Evolution Association Annual Meeting
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityDurham
Period25/03/1228/03/12

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