Men, attractiveness ratings and women who look like they are easy to get to bed

A friend of mine mentioned this topic to me. He got it from The Young Turks a youtube news commentary channel. The video is shown below:

Actually, i normally kinda like TYT, but in this case, they clearly do not understand the relevant science. Also, the asian guy who talks about societies where there are completely different mating patterns, yeah well, [citation needed]. I have heard too many of such claims and rarely seen any evidence. The times i have heard of something specific, it didn’t pan out. Two examples: 1) the one mentioned in the norwegian series Hjernevask (meaning Brainwashing) about a society (Etoro people) with a peculiar homosexual-ritual; 2) Amazons, a society where women dominate, are warrior etc., questionable historical data.

Slate has a better article about this:

Slate is so nice as to actually link to the studies without a pay-wall.

The full citations for the two papers are:

  1. Sexual exploitability: observable cues and their link to sexual attraction
    Cari D. Goetz, Judith A. Easton, David M.G. Lewis, David M. Buss
    Evolution and Human Behavior xx (2012) xxx–xxx
    Cues to Exploitability
  2. Exploitative male mating strategies: Personality, mating orientation,
    and relationship status
    David M.G. Lewis, Judith A. Easton, Cari D. Goetz, David M. Buss
    Personality and Individual Differences 52 (2012) 139–143

Some quotations from the first paper:

2. Method
2.1. Participants
Participants were students enrolled in an introductory
psychology course and received partial course credit for their
participation. Seventy-six males participated, ranging in age
from 18 to 47 (M=19.59±3.76). To avoid fatigue effects,
participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups.
One group viewed a randomized set of 36 photographed
women (out of the total of 110), and the other two groups
each viewed a randomized set of 37. Each group constituted
approximately one third of the total participant sample.

-.- This is always the worst part of these studies. American university students are simply not a good sample to generalize from. I wish that psychologists were forced to 1) draw from at least two different university student samples, so that we don’t just see studies on psychology students; 2) draw on at least one non-university sample, preferably a sample that is somewhat representative of the general population. All of these samples shud be of n>200. If necessary, they can do multiple studies on psychology students to improve the sample size. This rush to publish is annoying. It is better to do slow science.

Although our sample was limited to university students,
we expect the ability to detect cues to sexual exploitability to
be universally present. Future research should include men
from different age groups and socioeconomic backgrounds.
One benefit from using a young, university-attending sample
is that these men may be particularly sensitive to cues to
exploitability because (1) they are frequently in contact with
younger women who exhibit more of these cues because of
their youthful appearance and (2) they have lower status and
fewer resources and may experience more difficulty attract-
ing a high-quality mate through nonexploitative means.

Generally, i think it is an overall sound study, except for the sample, which is dodgy. It definitely did not deserve the bad treatment it got by TYT.

The second study does no better on the sample problem:

2. Method
2.1. Participants
Seventy-two heterosexual males, ages 18–47 (M = 19.61,
SD = 3.86), enrolled in an introductory psychology course at a large,
public university in the southwestern United States participated in
the current study. Thirty men reported they were currently in-
volved in an exclusive relationship. To avoid fatigue effects, partic-
ipants were randomly assigned to one of three groups, each of
which viewed approximately one-third of 110 photographs (one
group viewed 36 photographs and the other two viewed 37;
approximately 40 photographs could be viewed and rated in an
hour-long session). Photographs within each group were displayed
in the same order across participants. All participants provided in-
formed consent and received partial course credit for their

As far as i can tell, all of this makes totally sense in an evo psych framework. The finding that easiness correlations positively with ratings of short-term partners but negatively with long-term partners is a prediction of evo psych that seems not very obvious on any blank slate model.

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