Did Humans Evolve a Preference for Wealthy Mates?cancer november horoscope

chinese horoscope

Did Humans Evolve a Preference for Wealthy Mates?【cancer november horoscope】:Key points M

Did Humans Evolve a Preference for Wealthy Mates?cancer november horoscope

Did Humans Evolve a Preference for Wealthy Mates?cancer november horoscopeKey points Men and women desire a partner with good financial prospects, a finding consistent across cultures. Such desires are born from evolved mate preferences for resource provision. These preferences are important, as economic strain consistently predicts relationship turmoil and affects satisfaction.

In a previous post, I revealed that a prospective partner’s ability to obtain wealth is a prioritized trait in mate choice and that this pattern is fairly consistent across cultures. Examining the role of money and wealth in mating is not new, and it has been part of evolutionary psychological research programs for some time—including influential work by David Buss in 1989.

To some, it might seem odd that evolutionary psychologists study money at all. As a recent addition to the human experience, how could humans have evolved mate preferences for traits like “good financial prospects?” Even if we accept that such preferences are part of our evolved psychology, what is the reason for this, and what significance does this have for modern relationships?

Humans are drawn towards modern foods like doughnuts through more general preferences for things like fat and sugar.Source: Khairul Onggon/PexelsDid we evolve a preference for a mate’s money?

I have noticed that many of the best evolutionary writers choose to explain more complex psychological phenomena by first introducing a more straightforward and uncontroversial one and drawing parallels between them. Here I’ll turn to an old favorite: food preferences.

Most people accept the fact that humans have taste preferences for calorie-dense foods that were hard to come by in ancestral conditions. The subsequent evolutionary argument is a palatable one: These preferences are widespread among modern humans because they are the direct descendants of ancestors who developed such preferences and who benefited from greater survivability as a consequence.

In the modern day, our preferences drive us towards things like cinnamon rolls, donuts, and fried chicken, not because we have an “evolved Cinnabon preference” but because these modern foods contain elements that our evolved food preferences are sensitive to, such as fat and sugar.

By the same logic, humans appear to have a preference for money and wealth in a partner, not because we have “evolved money preferences” but because these things act as modern cues of a more general trait: the ability to secure resources like food, shelter, tools, and protection.

Not all mammals prefer a mate who can acquire resources, particularly those that mate promiscuously like bears.Source: Rasmus Svinding/PexelsWhy evolve preferences for resources at all?

Finding the ability to acquire resources desirable in a partner might seem obvious through human eyes, but consider the wider animal kingdom, and it becomes less so. In some mammals, such as bears, a preference for a mate’s ability to supply resources is non-existent because it’s irrelevant; bears mate promiscuously and do not rear offspring together.

Humans, in contrast, are highly social apes who pair-bond and produce particularly vulnerable young that are typically (but not always) raised by both parents. Our ability to secure resources affects not only our own survival but that of our partners, kin, and offspring.

Because of this, we have evolved preferences for mates who can provide. And the cognitive mechanisms behind such preferences are sensitive to modern “cues” of successful provision, including having a partner with wealth or the potential to accrue it.

The impact of economics on relationships

The importance of resource provision on relationship well-being will be something many readers will be able to relate to when considering their own relationship history. Indeed, money is one of the most common sources of conflict within committed relationships and one with real impact. A recent meta-analysis of 29 studies using more than 34,000 participants found that economic strain reduces relationship satisfaction and stability while increasing negative interactions between partners. The study also provides evidence that economic strain is one of the most consistent relationship stressors. These effects cut across different groups and contexts. Economic strain affects how satisfied women are with their relationships as well as men. It affects those who are highly educated and those with little education. It even, perhaps counterintuitively, affects those whose with high income as well as those with low income.

There were two surprising results from the meta-analysis for me: The first was a lack of sex difference. One might expect women’s relationship satisfaction to be affected more by economic strain than men’s, given that they prioritize good financial prospects a bit more. However, relationships by their very definition are co-dependent. Even if there were sex differences within a heterosexual relationship, the dissatisfaction of one partner would likely influence the other.

The second surprise was that the effects of economic strain were more prominent during times of general economic stability compared to moments of crisis (e.g., during recessions). Perhaps dissatisfaction depends on what others are experiencing. The impact of economic strain on a relationship is less when it feels like we’re all in the same boat compared to when it is clear that we are struggling while others are not (perhaps meaning that we have a “bad deal” in our current relationship).

The bottom line

Modern traits like money and good financial prospects likely tap into aspects of our mating psychology that evolved to draw us toward partners who can provide the resources we need to survive and thrive. Large-scale studies show economic strain to be a highly consistent predictor of relationship turmoil and dissatisfaction. Budgeting and getting your finances in order might not seem like a sexy pursuit, but it could be one pathway to increasing your mating prospects and facilitating relationship prosperity.

References

Buss, D. M. (1989). Sex differences in human mate preferences: Evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures. Behavioral and brain sciences, 12(1), 1-14.

Falconier, M. K., & Jackson, J. B. (2020). Economic strain and couple relationship functioning: A meta-analysis. International Journal of Stress Management, 27(4), 311.

More references

cancer november horoscopeDid Humans Evolve a Preference for Wealthy Mates?

Recommend for you