Thursday, December 01, 2005

ISIR blog live # 5 update - mate selection, intelligence & creativity

Here is installment #5 of my blogging "live" from the Internaltional Society for Intelligence Research (ISIR) 2005 conference in Albuquerque, NM.

More potentially controversial research to share around the water cooler.

Prokosch. Intelligence and Mate Choice

  • "The role that intelligence plays in human mate choice was examined. A large amount of research indicates that intelligence is an important criterion when selecting for a potential partner, and this preference varies both between sexes, with women valuing it more than men, and according to which mating strategy, long-term vs. short-term, one adopts. The question that remains to be answered is why such a preference has evolved. Most research has assumed that intelligence functions to indicate direct parental investment and resource acquisition, especially in males. However, there is also a possibility that intelligence functions to indicate indirect “good genes” benefits apart from any direct payoffs. In order to assess the plausibility of both mechanisms, this study examined five empirical questions:"
The presentor attempted to answer the following questions via the following research design.

Three groups of 5 males were selected for female evaluation (mean age =19; college students). Males were ordered on a measure of Gc (WAIS-III Vocabulary). 204 normal ovulating woman randomly viewed (3 minute videos) and rated each male (controlled for physical attraction). Male behavioral data was collected using video-recordings, and women then made various assessments based on relative male performance. Menstrual cycle data and objective intelligence measures were also collected.

1) How accurate are women at assessing intelligence given only brief exposure?
  • In general, they were accurate (significant linear trend).
2) How important is intelligence in a potential long-term mate?
  • Males that were brighter were viewed more positively as a potential long-term mate.
3) How important is intelligence in a short-term mate?
  • Same as conclusion in # 2. But physical attractiveness was a strong predictor in a short-term context. In addition, when a "creativity" variable was entered, it was more important than Gc (with an interaction with female intelligence -- brighter females preferred creativity more, than lower ability females,in a short-term context)
4) Does female conception risk influence either the accuracy of assessing intelligence or the preference for intelligence?
  • Nope. Probability of conception (a function of woman's cycle) was not related to accuracy of perception of intelligence and/or preference for higher intelligence in long- and short-term contexts. However, there was a significant short/long-term context by probabilty of conception (time during menstral cycle) interaction----greater preference for creativity in a short-term context.
5) Does the degree of female intelligence influence the accuracy of assessing intelligence or the preference for intelligence?
  • significant relationship found.

Hmmmmm....I'm not going to suggest any practical implications what-so-over.....this is too potentially controversial. But again, much of the evolutionary psychology research can be great for cocktail conversations.

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