Eine evolutionäre Perspektive auf Geschenke unter jungen Erwachsenen

Eine interessante Studie von ua Gad Saad behandelt das Geschenkeschenken:

With evolutionary psychology used as the theoretical framework, two aspects of gift giving among young adults are investigated: (a) sex differences in motives for giving gifts to a romantic partner, and (b) the allocation of gift expenditures among various relations, including romantic partners, close friends, close kin, and distant kin members. As per the evolved sex differences in mating strategies, it is proposed and found that men report tactical motives for giving gifts to their romantic partners more frequently than women. Also, there are no sex differences in situational motives for giving gifts. In addition, women are aware that men use tactical motives more often; whereas men think that these motives are employed equally by both sexes. With regard to gift expenditures it is found that, for kin members, the amount spent on gifts increases with the genetic relatedness (r value) of the particular kin. When all relations (kin and nonkin members) are included, the allocation of gift expenditures were the highest to romantic partners, followed by those to close kin members and then to close friends. The latter finding is explained via the importance attached to the evolved psychological mechanisms linked to each of the above relations, namely, reproductive fitness (for partners), nonreproductive fitness (for close kin members), and reciprocal altruism (for close friends).

Quelle: An Evolutionary Psychology Perspective on Gift Giving among Young Adults

Das die nächsten Verwandten reichhaltiger beschenkt werden ist aufgrund der höheren Anzahl gemeinsamer Gene und damit auch gemeinsamer evolutionärer Interessen und des damit auch verbundenen Näheverhältnis zu erwarten.

Ebenso ist verständlich, dass „romantische Partner“ ebenfalls mit höheren Werten bedacht werden.

Interessant sind die Überlegungen zu Unterschieden zwischen den Geschlechtern:

Belkand Coon (1993) categorized gift exchanges between romantic partners as one of three types: as an economic exchange, as a social exchange, or as an expression of agapic (selfless) love. Through a qualitative analysis of dating experiences, as recorded in subject diaries, Belk and Coon found that as per the economic exchange paradigm gifts were viewed as an investment. Men viewed gifts as a means of gaining sexual favors and women viewed them as a sexual debt. When seen as a social exchange, the gift serves to establish, strengthen, and maintain social relationships, and acts as a symbol of commitment. When offered as an expression of agapic love, a gift is a means by which the relationship is celebrated and the gift has a purely expressive value. In contrast to the economic and social exchange paradigms, which entail instrumental motives, the agapic love paradigm suggests purely altruistic motives.
The authors conclude that women are more likely to treasure gifts received´for their expressive or symbolic value, while men on the other hand do so for their utilitarian value. Among other studies that have looked at gift giving in romantic relationships, McGrath (1995) explored the use of gifts as a courtship signal, and concluded that: “The use of this device by males is accepted and understood within courtship behavior. Females, on the other hand, do not appear to have a comparable set of gift signals to express their willingness to participate in a romantic relationship” (p. 389). A similar view has been espoused by Areni, Kiecker, and Palan (1998) and Huang and Yu (2000).

A synopsis of the latter literature reveals two key trends:

  • (a) Men are more likely than women to use gifts as part of the courtship
  • (b) in not a single case was a Darwinian account used as the explicative frameworkin understanding such sex differences.

For example, Areni et al. (1998) argued that because men find it difficult to express their emotions verbally, they are more likely to adopt an instrumental role as gift givers. The latter explanation relies on the socialization-based account that males are taught to be agentic (i.e., instrumental) and aggressive from early childhood (cf. Eagly, 1987), whereas women are socialized to be communal. Evolutionary psychology (EP), on the other hand, posits ultimate explanations, or why these distinct socialization patterns emerged. As per the EP account, the two sexes have evolved distinct psychological mechanisms and predispositions that maximize their fitness (i.e., reproductive success), and socialization patterns emerge to enhance the fitness interests of the respective sexes (Archer, 1996).

Es wird dann das Motiv hinterfragt und die diesbezüglichen Werte stellen sich wie folgt dar:

Motive Geschenke Männer Frauen

Motive Geschenke Männer Frauen

Man sieht hier, dass bei den Motiven, die sich aus der Situation ergeben, beide Geschlechter relativ gleich sind, die Unterschiede sind in dem Bereich gering. Bei den taktischen Motiven hingegen zeigen sich deutliche Unterschiede, insbesondere verfolgen nach dieser Studie Männer wesentlich häufiger solche taktischen Ziele mit Geschenken. Sie wollen insbesondere einen guten Eindruck machen, dass reicht dann vielleicht vom Ausgeben eines Drinks über die Essenseinladung oder das Mitbringen von Geschenken.

Das Männer hier taktische Ziele verfolgen wird auch daran liegen, dass Großzügigkeit, Ressourcen, das Signalling von ernsthaftem Langzeitinteresse durch Geld ausgeben alles Punkte sind, mit denen Frauen bei Männern wesentlich weniger erreichen können. Statt einem Geschenk wären die meisten Männer wohl in der Tat wesentlich interessierter daran, dass es sexueller wird.

Im weiteren wurde auch die vermutete Motivation des Partners abgefragt:

Motive Geschenke Männer Frauen partner

Motive Geschenke Männer Frauen Partner

Die Männer gingen, wie sich an den kleineren Effektgrößen zeigt davon aus, dass die Frauen mit den Geschenken ungefähr das gleiche ausdrücken wollten wie sie. Die Frauen gingen hingegen davon aus, dass die Männer eher als sie nicht einfach Schenkten um des Schenkens Willen, sondern damit etwas bewirken wollten.

Aus der Diskussion:

Perhaps most telling of the evolved psychological mechanisms inherent in gift giving during courtship was the finding that although women are perfectly aware of the reasons that men offer them gifts, men are grossly inaccurate in their perceptions. Men are seldom courted using gift giving as a tactic. As such, a proximate explanation would propose that they have not learned how to read the signals in this type of giftgiving exchange. EP, with its panoply of ultimate explanations, would suggest that if a man were to make a wrong inference regarding a potential partner’s motives, it poses little or no genetic costs to him. If anything, a man that is misled into mating with a woman, has potentially increased his inclusive fitness. Clearly, the same is not true for women. If a woman were to mate with each suitor that offered her a gift, she would in part lose control of her genetic destiny and might accordingly be choosing suboptimal mates or those interested solely in short-term mating. As such, natural selection would have selected for men that could be duplicitous when seeking mating opportunities and accordingly would have endowed women with a capacity to detect such misguided mating attempts.

There were two surprising findings in Tables 1 and 2. First, the sole tactical motive that did not produce a difference between the two sexes was “displaying generosity.” The two sexes did not differ in the amount of money spent on their romantic partners. Thus, it appears that although the motives for gift giving are different for both sexes, once they engage in the behavior, they do so to the same extent. Women often state using gift giving as a means to celebrate the relationship, and indicate agapic motives for such acts, which were not explored in the current research. Moreover, it might be that although men demonstrate their generosity earlier in the relationship, women might do so further along in it. The second surprising finding was that men felt that women offered gifts more frequently than they did, as a means of “displaying long-term interest.” Once again, the temporal context of the relationship might shed light on this otherwise unexpected finding. Men are likely to use gift giving as a means of “displaying long-term interest” early in the relationship. On the other hand, to the extent that women offer gifts it will occur more frequently later in the relationship, and hence, by definition, the gift is likely to solidify an ongoing long-term commitment This fact has undoubtedly not gone unnoticed by men, thus resulting in their perceptions that a gift offering serves as a signal of long-term commitment.
The conventional social role theory perspective would argue that all of the latter findings are due to socialization; that men and women are differentially socialized to acquire “agentic/instrumental” and “communal” traits, respectively (Eagly, 1987). Thus, in this perspective, because men are socialized to be instrumental, they remain so in their motives when offering gifts. However, this theory does not provide an ultimate explanation as to why the socialization process is such and why it exists across cultures. Several scholars have proposed cogent arguments for the superiority of EP over social role theory in explaining sex differences in behavior (e.g., Archer, 1996; Buss, 1996). The theoretical stance of the present authors is well aligned with the interactionist framework, as championed by Tooby and Cosmides (1992); namely, that behavior can neither be fully and adequately explained solely by innate dispositions nor solely by socialization processes. Instead, any behavior is an interaction of both sets of causes.

Nicht ganz verstanden habe ich, wie sie ausschließen, dass die Frauen zwar meinen, dass sie aus ganz anderen Gründen handeln, letztendlich aber unterbewußt die gleichen Mechanismen verwenden. „To celebrate the Relationship“ ist ja auch nur eine Form von „ich feiere, indem ich zeige, wie gern ich dich habe“ und insofern eine andere Einkleidung. Aber vielleicht denke ich da auch nur zu männlich.