Chapter

Social influences on human assortative mating

Del Thiessen

in The Descent of Mind

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780192632593
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191670497 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192632593.003.0016
Social influences on human assortative mating

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Sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists emphasise that mate choice is based on Darwinian natural selection for individual fitness. This chapter refers to this as the individual imperative. These multiple features of the environment that determine individual success or failure the chapter refers as the collective imperative. In addition, the chapter discusses the assortative mating of couples and touches on the complex interactions between individual mate selection and human social ecology. It presents the genetic argument for human mate assortment then refers to experimental data, suggesting that the social perceptions of couples by others influence the mate assortment process. This social-preceptual influence extends to incestual relations where mate assortment is extreme. Finally, the chapter generalises the findings to a more formal theory of individual and social influences on human mate selection.

Keywords: mate choice; natural selection; individual imperative; collective imperative; assortative mating; mate selection; social ecology; genetic argument; social influences

Chapter.  5718 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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