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Psychol Bull. 2014 May;140(3):673-81. doi: 10.1037/a0036111.

The many voices of Darwin's descendants: reply to Schmitt (2014).

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Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, University of Texas at Austin.
Department of Psychology, Daemen College.
Department of Psychology, Northwestern University.


This article elaborates on evolutionary perspectives relevant to the meta-analytic portion of our recent review (Eastwick, Luchies, Finkel, & Hunt, 2014). We suggested that if men and women evolved sex-differentiated ideals (i.e., mate preferences), then they should exhibit sex-differentiated desires (e.g., romantic attraction) and/or relational outcomes (e.g., relationship satisfaction) with respect to live opposite-sex targets. Our meta-analysis revealed no support for these sex-differentiated desires and relational outcomes in either established relationship or mate selection contexts. With respect to established relationships, Schmitt (2014) has objected to the idea that relationship quality (one of our primarily romantic evaluation dependent measures) has functional relevance. In doing so, he neglects myriad evolutionary perspectives on the adaptive importance of the pair-bond and the wealth of data suggesting that relationship quality predicts the dissolution of pair-bonds. With respect to mate selection, Schmitt (2014) has continued to suggest that sex-differentiated patterns should emerge in these contexts despite the fact that our meta-analysis included this literature and found no sex differences. Schmitt (2014) also generated several novel sex-differentiated predictions with respect to attractiveness and earning prospects, but neither the existing literature nor reanalyses of our meta-analytic data reveal any support for his "proper" function-related hypotheses. In short, there are diverse evolutionary perspectives relevant to mating, including our own synthesis; Schmitt's (2014) conceptual analysis is not the one-and-only evolutionary psychological view, and his alternative explanations for our meta-analytic data remain speculative.

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