Menstrual cycle effects on women’s mate preferences

Meta-analysis of menstrual cycle effects on women’s mate preferences

From Emotion Review

“What does a woman want?” This was Sigmund Freud’s “great question that has never been answered”. In evolutionary psychology predictions, women’s mate preferences shift between fertile and nonfertile times of the month to reflect ancestral fitness benefits. This study explored whether women’s preferences for a partner shift across the menstrual cycle. Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of experiments on menstrual cycle influences. The study aimed to generate a comprehensive explanation of women’s preference. It considered how women regulate their reproductive behaviors to conform to gender roles in their society. In conclusion the study recognizes the significance of culture in shaping mate preferences and warns that to exclude culture, evolutionary psychologists may be missing some of the most important, characteristically human, evolutionary processes.

Abstract

In evolutionary psychology predictions, women’s mate preferences shift between fertile and nonfertile times of the month to reflect ancestral fitness benefits. Our meta-analytic test involving 58 independent reports (13 unpublished, 45 published) was largely nonsupportive. Specifically, fertile women did not especially desire sex in short-term relationships with men purported to be of high genetic quality (i.e., high testosterone, masculinity, dominance, symmetry). The few significant preference shifts appeared to be research artifacts. The effects declined over time in published work, were limited to studies that used broader, less precise definitions of the fertile phase, and were found only in published research.

 

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Article details

Wendy Wood, Laura Kressel, Priyanka D. Joshi, and Brian Louie
Meta-Analysis of Menstrual Cycle Effects on Women’s Mate Preferences
Emotion Review 1754073914523073, first published on March 24, 2014 doi:10.1177/1754073914523073

 

 

 

 

     
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