Sally M. Askar, Thomas N. Ballas, Christine N. Farmer, Charles A. Hunt, Christine Kershaw, Bernadette D. O'Koon, Angela L. Receveur, Cody Stitzel, Clarice Vavro, Sarah A. Wilhoit



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The dual-mating hypothesis suggests that mating strategies adopted by women vary across the menstrual cycle. While women are usually attracted to men who exhibit strong potential as a provider, at peak fertility women are attracted to men who exhibit stronger genes. To attract genetically strong men at peak fertility, research shows that women will alter their behavior in ways that make them more attractive to members of the opposite sex. For example, women tend to wear red clothing and clothing that shows more skin at peak fertility in an effort to attract a mate. These mate-attraction strategies not only increase attractiveness and sexual receptivity to members of the opposite sex, but they also provoke competition from other women. Given that women have a narrow fertile window, using the most effective mate-attraction strategy and derogating potential sexual competition is critical for mate-attraction and reproduction. The present research examined whether there is a most effective mate-attraction strategy, and the role of ovulation in derogation. By manipulating shirt color and type, we tested the effectiveness of mate-attraction strategies by examining the independent effects of each mating strategy and their interactive effects on attractiveness and derogation. Next, we examined whether mate-guarding is stronger for women who are ovulating. Ovulating women should show an increase in mate-guarding in an effort protect her reproductive partner from other women. To test these questions, male and female participants viewed a photo of a woman and evaluated her attractiveness, sexual receptivity, and intentions to mate-guard (women, only). The photo viewed, determined by random assignment, was of a woman wearing a red or white shirt, and the shirt was either sleeveless or long-sleeved. Findings from the present study will increase the understanding of mating strategies and further illuminate the role of ovulation in effectively attaining strong genes.

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Independent Research

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Erin O'Mara

Primary Advisor's Department



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Clothing Type Versus Color: Understanding the Role of Dress and Ovulation on Mate-Attraction Effectiveness and Mate-Guarding.