Mating Intelligence (or How I Completely Missed the Boat)

I don’t want to steal any of Glenn’s thunder here, but I do want to point that one of the costs of doing a side project that is not theoretically related to the main thread of one’s research is that you tend to miss giant bodies of research that are right under your nose. What is even more embarrassing in this case is that the person whose work I have failed to sufficiently appreciate is someone I talk to & collaborate with consistently, albeit with regard to teaching evolution & not necessarily the substance of our core research. However, I have always been fully aware of Glenn’s co-authored volume Mating Intelligence with Geoffrey Miller, have it on my shelf, have read some of it, have even cited some of it in manuscripts in production. However, I have yet to fully appreciate the considerable overlap between his work & the self-deception project that has been plodding along on my backburner since around 2007. So it is with much chagrin that as I look for sources to justify the use of self-reported mating success in a preliminary study using college students & internet participants, I find from this 2009 who’s who of EvoSers entitled “Self-Perceived Mating Intelligence Predicts Sexual Behavior in College Students: Empirical Validation of a Theoretical Construct” by Daniel O’Brien, Glenn Geher, Andrew Gallup (who is Gordon Gallup’s son & went thru the Gallup Lab WITH me when I was formulating the self-deception study–Andrew, dude, help a brother out!), Justin Garcia, & Scott Barry Kaufman:

As an initial attempt to define the parameters of this construct, Geher & Kaufman (2007) suggested the following domains: (a) cross-sex mind reading, or awareness of a potential mate’s interest (or lack thereof); (b) mating-relevant self-deception, general confidence in one’s value as a mate, whether reasonable or baseless; (c) mating-relevant other-deception, the ability to manipulate potential mates; (d) & cognitive courship display, including those cognitive behaviors involed in attracting a mate. Two additional sex-specific parameters have been theorized, both based on the findings of Haelton & Buss (2000). Males are thought to benefit from assuming sexual interest on the part of potential partners more often than not (sexual over-estimation), & it is believed to be advantageous to females to test the dedication of mates (commitment skepticism), as they bear greater costs in the case of abandonment. (bold added for emphasis)

Hmm, I started the self-deception study in 2007, the year Glenn & Scott released something about “mating-relevant self-deception”? How did we miss that? What could that be? “The Mating Intelligence Scale” in Psychology Today (Vol. 40, pp. 78-79) (This link–click me–is from 2009, but I think it goes to the test & includes some additional info)! So when I search that, I also find an awesome teaching module on teaching mating intelligence, including the scale–where? Here, among the EvoS course materials! He’s probably blogged about it too, right? I’m sure he has, but I’m afraid to look. Anyway, look at the awesome stuff we have available! Oy.

Christopher Lynn

About Christopher Lynn

Christopher Dana Lynn is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Alabama, where he founded the Evolutionary Studies program.  Chris teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in biological anthropology, human sexuality, evolution, biocultural medical anthropology, and neuroanthropology.  He received his Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology in 2009 from the University at Albany, SUNY, where his doctoral focus was on the influence of speaking in tongues on stress response among Pentecostals.  Chris runs a human behavioral ecology research group where the objectives include studying fun gimmicky things like trance, religious behavior, tattooing, and sex as a way of introducing students to the rigors of evolutionary science.  In all his “free” time, he breaks up fights among his triplet sons, enjoys marriage to the other Loretta Lynn, strokes his mustache, and has learned to be passionate about Alabama football (Roll Tide!).  Follow Chris on Twitter: @Chris_Ly
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2 Responses to Mating Intelligence (or How I Completely Missed the Boat)

  1. Christopher Lynn Christopher Lynn says:

    Thanks Glenn. I did find her chapter really helpful. Wish I could have met her to talk about it. Just got the funds from my department & dean to attend the summit, so we can talk about it more in person I hope?

  2. Glenn Geher Glenn Geher says:

    Chris – thanks for the shout-out. Our work related to this in the sphere of mating intelligence is interesting (I think!) with some solid empirical support. But more needs to be done.

    It’s really the late/great Maureen O’Sullivan who had something very significant to say about mating-relevant self-deception prior to now in any case! And I have the impression that your work in this area will add quite a bit to what we know.

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