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Hum Nat. 2013 Dec;24(4):430-43. doi: 10.1007/s12110-013-9179-7.

Courtship feeding in humans? The effects of feeding versus providing food on perceived attraction and intimacy.

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Department of Psychology, Clemson University, 418 Brackett Hall, Clemson, SC, 29634-1355, USA,


Food sharing may be used for mate attraction, sexual access, or mate retention in humans, as in many other species. Adult humans tend to perceive more intimacy in a couple if feeding is observed, but the increased perceived intimacy may be due to resource provisioning rather than feeding per se. To address this issue, 210 university students (66 male) watched five short videos, each showing a different mixed-sex pair of adults dining together and including feeding or simple provisioning or no food sharing. A survey concerning attraction and intimacy in the dyad was completed after each video. Both provisioning and feeding produced higher ratings of "Involvement," with feeding producing the highest ratings. Similarly, the perceived attraction of each actor to the other was lowest when no food sharing was shown and highest when feeding was displayed. These findings are consistent with a view of feeding as a courtship display in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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