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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1988 Apr;54(4):616-28.

The evolution of human intrasexual competition: tactics of mate attraction.

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Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109-1346.


Darwin's theory of sexual selection suggests that individuals compete with members of their own sex for reproductively relevant resources held by members of the opposite sex. Four empirical studies were conducted to identify tactics of intrasexual mate competition and to test four evolution-based hypotheses. A preliminary study yielded a taxonomy of tactics. Study 1 used close-friend observers to report performance frequencies of 23 tactics to test the hypotheses. Study 2 replicated Study 1's results by using a different data source and subject population. Study 3 provided an independent test of the hypotheses in assessing the perceived effectiveness of each tactic for male and female actors. Although the basic hypotheses were supported across all three studies, there were several predictive failures and unanticipated findings. Discussion centers on the heuristic as well as predictive role of evolutionary theory, and on implications for other arenas of intrasexual competition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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