Saturday, July 25, 2015

L.I.N.K.S. 11: Mate Value

Welcome to the 11th edition of LINKS (Links that Lure, Intrigue, Nurture, Kindle, or Stimulate), in which we discuss the concept of

Mate Value

What is Mate Value? Can Mate Value be measured? Do you know your Mate Value? Does knowing your Mate Value help or hinder your prospects for finding an ideal life companion? Given your Mate Value, what sort of Mate Value Score should your significant other possess?

Mate Value
by cherryblossom Urban Dictionary July 02, 2009

How attractive someone is as a potential mate. Based on things like beauty/hotness, wealth, intelligence, etc. Different qualities impact mate value in different cultures, and mate value is evaluated somewhat differently for guys versus girls.

Example: "Why is it that I keep getting fixed up with guys with super-low mate value?!? I am not lowering my standards!!!"

John E. Edlunda and Brad J. Sagarinb in Personality and Individual DifferencesVolume 64, Pages 72–77, July 2014

Mate value is a construct of importance to many psychological (especially evolutionary psychological) theories. However, there are no well validated self-report measures of mate value. In light of this, we designed the Mate Value Scale (MVS): a brief, four-item measure that can assess mate value of the self, of one’s partner, or of another target. Study One demonstrates that the MVS has good internal consistency, a one-factor structure, and good convergent validity. Study Two replicates these psychometric findings along with demonstrations of good test–retest reliability and further convergent and discriminant validity. Study Three demonstrates how the MVS can successfully be applied to an evolutionary psychological domain (the sex difference in jealousy). Additional cited research demonstrates the MVS’s utility in a number of other domains. We conclude that the MVS is a short and effective measure of mate value.

Knowing Your Own Mate Value: Sex-Specific Personality Effects on the Accuracy of Expected Mate Choices
Mitja D. BackLars PenkeStefan C. Schmukle, and Jens B. Asendorpf, Psychological Science, April 6, 2011

Knowing one’s mate value (mate-value accuracy) is an important element in reproductive success. We investigated within- and between-sex differences in this ability in a real-life speed-dating event. A total of 190 men and 192 women filled out a personality questionnaire and participated in speed-dating sessions. Immediately after each date, participants recorded who they would choose as mates and who they expected would choose them. In line with evolutionarily informed hypotheses, results indicated that sociosexually unrestricted men and more agreeable women showed greater mate-value accuracy than sociosexually restricted men and less agreeable women, respectively. These results have important implications for understanding mating behavior and perhaps the origin of sex differences in personality.

For Couples, Time Can Upend the Laws of Attraction
Andrew Rae, New York Times, June 29, 2015 conducts an annual survey which includes a version of this question from Christopher Marlowe’s 16th-century poem: “Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight?” A great many, it turns out. In the survey, 33 percent of men and 43 percent of women answered yes when asked if they had ever fallen in love with someone they did not initially find attractive. Dr. Fisher terms this process “slow love,” and says it is becoming more common as people take longer to marry.

So You’re Not Desirable ...
Paul W. Eastwick and Lucy L. Hunt, New York Times Sunday Review, May 16, 2014

The old axiom says beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When it comes to initial impressions, this statement is not really true: Consensus about desirable qualities creates a gulf between the haves and have-nots. But the truth of this maxim increases over time: As people get to know each other, decreasing consensus and increasing uniqueness give everyone a fighting chance.

The Demographics of Mate Value and Self-Esteem 
Gary L. Brase, Emma C. Guy
Personality and Individual Differences 36 (2004) 471–484, February 2003

A revised version of the sociometer hypothesis account of self-esteem holds that self-esteem is a function of multiple indexes of how a person stands in relation to those around him or her. One of the areas in which people are proposed to be sensitive to their relative standing is their mate value—how attractive they are as a potential mate. Elements of one’s mate value are tied to age and sex of a person, and marital status may also be a demographic variable that reflects mate value. A study with 161 participants, representing a range of ages and marital standings, found that age, sex, and marital status were related to self-estimates of mate value and efforts to enhance mate value. In turn, mate value and mate value enhancement effort—in addition to marital satisfaction–were significant predictor variables for self-esteem.

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