Studien, die ich irgendwann mal für eine Besprechung vorgesehen hatte, aber nicht dazu gekommen bin

Hier ein Auszug aus den Studien, die ich eigentlich mal besprechen wollte, weil ich sie interessant fand. Schaut mal durch, welche ihr gerne besprochen haben würdet oder kommentiert sie ggfs schon mal:

Longitudinal Associations Between Parenting and Child Big Five Personality Traits 

The goal of this research was to explore the relationships between four parenting dimensions (academic involvement, structure, cultural stimulation, and goals) and child personality development. Many theories, such as social learning, attachment theory, and the psychological resources principle assume that parenting practices influence child personality development. Most of past research on the associations between parenting and child Big Five traits specifically has used cross-sectional data. The few longitudinal studies that examined these associations found small relations between parenting and child personality. We extended this research by examining the long-term relations between four underexplored parenting dimensions and child Big Five personality traits using bivariate latent growth models in a large longitudinal dataset (N = 3,880). Results from growth models revealed a preponderance of null relations between these parenting measures and child personality, especially between changes in parenting and changes in child personality. In general, the observed associations between parenting and child Big Five personality were comparable in magnitude to the association between factors such as SES and birth order, and child personality—that is, small. The small associations between environmental factors and personality suggest that personality development in childhood and adolescence may be driven by multiple factors, each of which makes a small contribution

Sex Differences in Adolescents’ Occupational Aspirations: Variations Across Time and Place

We investigated sex differences in 473,260 adolescents’ aspirations to work in things-
oriented (e.g., mechanic), people-oriented (e.g., nurse), and STEM (e.g., mathematician) careers across 80 countries and economic regions using the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). We analyzed student career aspirations in combination with student achievement in mathematics, reading, and science, as well as parental occupations and family wealth. In each country and region, more boys than girls aspired to a things-oriented or STEM occupation and more girls than boys to a people-oriented occupation. These sex differences were larger in countries with a higher level of women’s empowerment. We explain this counter-intuitive finding through the indirect effect of wealth. Women’s empowerment is associated with relatively high levels of national wealth and this wealth allows more students to aspire to occupations they are intrinsically interested in. Implications for better understanding the sources of sex differences in career aspirations and associated policy are discussed

The relative importance of intra- and intersexual selection on human male sexually dimorphic traits

Recent evidence suggests that in sexual selection on human males, intrasexual competition plays a larger role than female choice. In a sample of men (N = 164), we sought to provide further evidence on the effects of men’s physical dominance and sexual attractiveness on mating success and hence in sexual selection. Objective measures and subjective ratings of male sexually dimorphic traits purportedly under sexual selection (height, vocal and facial masculinity, upper body size from 3D scans, physical strength, and baseline testosterone) and observer perceptions of physical dominance and sexual attractiveness based on self-presentation video recordings were assessed and associated with mating success (sociosexual behaviour and number of potential conceptions) in a partly longitudinal design. Results from structural equation models and selection analyses revealed that physical dominance, but not sexual attractiveness, predicted mating success. Physical dominance mediated associations of upper body size, physical strength, as well as vocal and facial physical dominance and attractiveness with mating success. These findings thus suggest a greater importance of intrasexual competition than female choice in human male sexual selection.

Gender stereotypes: a bias against men

In a class on the psychology of male roles, 38 undergraduates (18 men, 20 women) participated in an activity designed to assess gender stereotypes. A chi-square analysis revealed that participants produced significantly more negative stereotypes for men than for women. These results, consistent with crosscultural findings, are discussed in terms of methodological issues and the differential socialization of men and women.

Protective buttressing of the human fist and the evolution of hominin hands

The derived proportions of the human hand may provide supportive buttressing that protects the hand from injury when striking with a fist. Flexion of digits 2–5 results in buttressing of the pads of the distal phalanges against the central palm and the palmar pads of the proximal phalanges. Additionally, adduction of the thenar eminence to abut the dorsal surface of the distal phalanges of digits 2 and 3 locks these digits into a solid configuration that may allow a transfer of energy through the thenar eminence to the wrist. To test the hypothesis of a performance advantage, we measured: (1) the forces and rate of change of acceleration (jerk) from maximum effort strikes of subjects striking with a fist and an open hand; (2) the static stiffness of the second metacarpo-phalangeal (MCP) joint in buttressed and unbuttressed fist postures; and (3) static force transfer from digits 2 and 3 to digit 1 also in buttressed and unbuttressed fist postures. We found that peak forces, force impulses and peak jerk did not differ between the closed fist and open palm strikes. However, the structure of the human fist provides buttressing that increases the stiffness of the second MCP joint by fourfold and, as a result of force transfer through the thenar eminence, more than doubles the ability of the proximal phalanges to transmit ‘punching’ force. Thus, the proportions of the human hand provide a performance advantage when striking with a fist. We propose that the derived proportions of hominin hands reflect, in part, sexual selection to improve fighting performance.

 

When Do Female Role Models Benefit Women? The Importance of
Differentiating Recruitment From Retention in STEM

Increasing the participation of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) involves two distinct challenges. One is increasing the retention of women who are already in STEM fields. The second is increasing the recruitment of women who enter the STEM pipeline. Nilanjana Dasgupta (this issue) suggests that female role models assist in both of these efforts by improving women’s performance and sense of belonging in STEM. In the current article, we conceptually differentiate recruitment from retention and propose that although female role models may be effective in the retention of women in STEM, female and male role models can be equally effective in recruitment efforts. For interventions using role models to be most effective, we must understand when female role models matter and when male role models can be just as effective. Doing so helps to ensure we are “rendering onto the right students the right intervention”
(Steele, 1997, p. 624).

Couple Simulation: A Novel Approach for Evaluating Models of Human Mate Choice

Choosing a mate is perhaps the most important decision a sexually reproducing organism makes in its lifetime. And yet, psychologists lack a precise description of human mate choice, despite sustained attention from several theoretical perspectives. Here, I argue this limited progress owes to the complexity of mate choice and describe a new modeling approach, called “couple simulation,” designed to compare models of mate choice by challenging them to reproduce real couples within simulated mating markets. I present proof-of-concept simulations that demonstrate couple simulation can identify a population’s true model of mate choice. Furthermore, I apply couple simulation to two samples of real couples and find that the method (a) successfully reconstructs real-world couples, (b) discriminates between models of mate choice, and (c) predicts a wide range of dimensions of relationship quality. Collectively, these results provide evidence that couple simulation offers a framework useful for evaluating theories of human mate choice.

The reality and evolutionary significance of human psychological sex
differences

The aims of this article are: (1) to provide a quantitative overview of sex differences in human psychological attributes, and (2) to consider evidence for their possible evolutionary origins. Sex differences were identified from a systematic literature search of meta-analyses and large-sample studies. These were organized in terms of evolutionary significance as follows:
(1) characteristics arising from inter-male competition (within-sex aggression; impulsiveness and sensation-seeking; fearfulness; visuospatial and object-location memory; object-centred orientations);
(2) those concerning social relations that are likely to have arisen from women’s adaptations for small-group interactions and men’s for larger co-operative groups (person-centred orientation and social skills; language; depression and anxiety);
(3) those arising from female choice (sexuality; mate choice; sexual conflict). There were sex differences in all categories, whose magnitudes ranged from (1) small (object location memory; negative emotions), to (2) medium (mental rotation; anxiety disorders; impulsivity; sex drive; interest in casual sex), to (3) large (social interests and abilities; sociosexuality), and (4) very large (escalated aggression; systemizing; sexual violence).
Evolutionary explanations were evaluated according to whether: (1) similar differences occur in other mammals; (2) there is cross-cultural consistency; (3) the origin was early in life or at puberty; (4) there was evidence for hormonal influences; and (5), where possible, whether there was evidence for evolutionarily derived design features. The evidence was positive for most features in most categories, suggesting evolutionary origins for a broad range of sex differences. Attributes for which there was no sex difference are also noted. Within-sex variations are discussed as limitations
to the emphasis on sex differences

The Gender Gap in Preferences: Evidence from 45,397 Facebook Interests

This paper uses information on the frequency of 45,397 Facebook interests to study how the difference in preferences between men and women changes with a country’s degree of gender equality. For preference dimensions that are systematically biased toward the same gender across the globe, differences between men and women are larger in more gender-equal countries. In contrast, for preference dimensions with a gender bias that varies across countries, the opposite holds. This finding takes an important step toward reconciling evolutionary psychology and social role theory as they relate to gender.

Sexual differentiation of the human hypothalamus: Relationship to gender identity and sexual orientation

Gender identity (an individual’s perception of being male or female) and sexual orientation (heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality) are programmed into our brain during early development. During the intrauterine period in the second half of pregnancy, a testosterone surge masculinizes the fetal male brain. If such a testosterone surge does not occur, this will result in a feminine brain. As sexual differentiation of the brain takes place at a much later stage in development than sexual differentiation of the genitals, these two processes can be influenced independently of each other and can result in gender dysphoria. Nature produces a great variability for all aspects of sexual differentiation of the brain. Mechanisms involved in sexual differentiation of the brain include hormones, genetics, epigenetics, endocrine disruptors, immune response, and self-organization. Furthermore, structural and functional differences in the hypothalamus relating to gender dysphoria and sexual orientation are described in this review. All the genetic, postmortem, and in vivo scanning observations support the neurobiological theory about the origin of gender dysphoria, i.e., it is the sizes of brain structures, the neuron numbers, the molecular composition, functions, and connectivity of brain structures that determine our gender identity or sexual orientation. There is no evidence that one’s postnatal social environment plays a crucial role in the development of gender identity or sexual orientation.

Why people are single: The big five as predictors of involuntary singlehood

Highlights
• Finds that low scorers in extraversion are more likely to be involuntarily single.
• Finds that low extraversion is associated with longer spells of singlehood.
• Finds that high scorers in openness are more likely to prefer to be single.
• Finds that high openness is associated with longer spells of singlehood.

Abstract
Not having an intimate partner constitutes a common state in contemporary societies, and the current study aimed to examine the relationship between personality, marital status and the length of singlehood. More specifically, we hypothesized that extraversion would be a significant predictor of singlehood. Consistent with this hypothesis, using a sample of 1418 Greek-speaking participants, we found that lower scores in extraversion were associated with higher probability to be involuntarily single than in an intimate relationship, and with more prolonged spells of singlehood. Furthermore, higher scores in openness were associated with higher probability to be voluntarily single than in an intimate relationship, and with more prolonged spells of singlehood.

Social Axioms Mediate Gender Differences in Gender Ideologies Among Guatemalan University Students

Gender role ideologies are embedded in cultural values and assumptions about life. Women’s greater endorsement of egalitarian beliefs may stem from gender differences in world views as indexed by social axioms. The purpose of this study was to examine potential mediators of gender differences in gender ideologies among university students in Guatemala, a country where traditional views are prevalent. Participants, 2,134 university students from nine campuses in different regions of Guatemala (43% male, 85% emerging adults), completed a Social Axioms Scale, along with three culturally relevant measures of gender ideology: the Historic-Sociocultural Premises Scale (HSCP) and the Machismo Measure that taps both traditional machismo and caballerismo (gentlemanliness). Consistent with previous research in other countries, men held more traditional attitudes about gender and the family than did women on all measures. Gender differences on all scales were mediated by cynicism and religiosity. Fate control mediated the gender differences in traditional machismo and the HSCP. These findings suggest that Guatemalan women and men through socialization, cultural demands, and life experiences develop gender-specific ways of viewing the world, and their attitudes about gender roles are shaped by those worldviews. The achievement of gender equality, a U.N. sustainable development goal, may require attention to the underlying world views of women and men.

When is a sex diVerence not a sex diVerence?

Brain sexual diVerentiation in mammals requires activity of gonadal hormones; organizational eVects of these steroids on brain development occur early in life while activational ones in adulthood ensure appropriate and timely sex-speciWc behaviors. This traditional view has long served as a reliable model for sexual diVerentiation of reproductively relevant brain structures. Here, we take a fresh look at this model but refocused in the context of sexual diVerentiation of non-reproductive parameters and with an emphasis on the hippocampus, a telencephalic brain structure predominantly involved in cognition and stress regulation. We explore sex diVerences in morphology, neurochemistry, and hippocampal-dependent behaviors to propose a new prototype that can be used to explain and further investigate the eVects of steroid hormones, those synthesized gonadally or intracerebrally, on hippocampal development and function. We also propose that a new vernacular be employed, one that distinguishes hormonally modulated responses from sex diVerences, and argue these are mechanistically and functionally distinct. Understanding when and how the sexes are diVerent is as important as understanding when and how they are the same, at the biological, social, and cultural level.

 

The Influence of Sex Ratio and Perception of Mate Availability on Psychological Health

Pair bonding, or long-term adult romantic relationship, was advantageous in ensuring
offspring survival and adult protection in the evolutionary environment, thus humans have evolved with strong mating and pair bonding motivations (Belsky, 1999; Fraley, Brumbaugh & Marks, 2005; Fraley & Shaver, 2000). Because successes and failures in meeting adaptive goals is correlated with emotional and psychological health (Nesse, 2016; Plutchik, 2003), decreased or thwarted mating opportunity should theoretically impact wellbeing. Sex ratio refers to the number of males relative to females in a given population and significantly influences mating opportunity. When sex ratio is skewed, the oversupplied sex experiences a dearth in mating opportunity (Guttengang & Secord, 1983). The minimal research that has been conducted in this area suggests that population sex ratio and mating opportunity influence wellbeing (Tucker & Mitchel-Kernan, 1989) yet more research is necessary to gain a better understanding of the psychological impact of sex ratio.
This study examined whether population specific sex ratio and perceived mate availability influenced a variety of mental health outcomes and dating strategies in the young adult, single, population. The main sample consisted of 647 participants (332 male and 315 female) who responded to an online survey with items measuring depression, anxiety, positive and negative affect, life satisfaction, self-esteem and mating flexibility. Mate value, religious and cultural beliefs were assessed as moderating variables. Additionally, some mating and commitment strategies were explored. The hypotheses that young adults who live in an area with less mate availability or who simply perceive there to be an undersupply of available mates would have more negative psychological outcomes were partially supported. Perceived sex ratio and actual sex ratio differentially impacted males and females. For males, perception of lower mate availability was associated with decreased life satisfaction, decreased positive affect, and decreased choosiness in mating criteria. For females, an actual oversupply of females was associated with decreased life satisfaction. Mate value was found to moderate the relationship
between perceived sex ratio and anxiety, depression, and negative affect for both males and females. For those low in mate value, decreased opposite sex availability was associated with an increase in anxiety, depression, and negative affect. This pattern reversed for those high in mate value, where perceived increased opposite sex availability was associated with increased depression, anxiety, and negative affect. This latter, unexpected finding suggests that there may be psychological costs for those both high and low in mate value when there is an imbalance in sex ratio. Additionally, perceived sex ratio impacted some dating commitment strategies. For example, those who perceived there to be a dearth of opposite sex availability reported that they would be more “willing to settle for a less than ideal mate out of desperation”. These findings suggest that skewed sex ratio not only impacts sociological constructs such as mating strategies and behaviors but can also impact psychological constructs and individual wellbeing. These findings can help those in the clinical and counseling field better understand how sex ratio and mate availability influence wellbeing. Given that mate acquisition is a significant life goal for young adults, clinicians working with that population should assess for beliefs surrounding mating opportunity.

The Role of Gendered Entitlement in Understanding Inequality in the Bedroom

Five studies (using U.S. samples) examined whether men’s higher entitlement contributes to a sexual pleasure gap that disadvantages women. Participants indicated that men receive more sexual pleasure from their partners, whereas women provide more pleasure (Study 1a). Participants believed that men have more of a right to experience orgasm in both hook-up and relationship encounters and attributed higher negative affect to the male target than to the female target when the target did not experience an orgasm in a sexual scenario (Study 1b). In concert with the idea that pleasure is a privilege that men are perceived as being more entitled to, participants preferred men’s orgasm when forced to choose between the male and the female partner in an orgasm allocation task (Study 1c) and in an experiment (Study 2). Study 3 examined why people believe that men are more entitled to pleasure than women. Men’s higher sense of entitlement as an obstacle to gender equality in sexuality is discussed.

Personal relative deprivation and the belief that economic success is zero-sum.

Why do people view economic success as zero-sum? In seven studies (including a large, nationally representative sample of more than 90,000 respondents from 60 countries), we explore how personal relative deprivation influences zero-sum thinking—the belief that one person’s gains can only be obtained at other people’s expense. We find that personal relative deprivation fosters a belief that economic success is zero-sum, and that this is true regardless of participants’ household income, political ideology, or subjective social class. Moreover, in a large and preregistered study, we find that the effect of personal relative deprivation on zero-sum thinking is mediated by lay perceptions of society. The more people see themselves as having been unfairly disadvantaged relative to others, the more they view the world as unjust and economic success as determined by external forces beyond one’s control. In turn, these cynical views of society lead people to believe that economic success is zero-sum. We discuss the implications of these findings for research on social comparisons, the distribution of resources, and the psychological consequences of feeling personally deprived. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Asexuality: What It Is and Why It Matters

In this review article, human asexuality, a relatively understudied phenomenon, is discussed. Specifically, definitions and conceptualizations of asexuality (e.g., is it a unique category of sexual orientation?), biological and historical contexts, identity issues, discrimination against asexual people relative to other minorities, origins, and variations, including gender differences, are reviewed. Whether asexuality should be construed as a disorder is also discussed. The study of asexuality allows for a better understanding of an underrecognized sexual minority but also affords a unique opportunity to examine and better understand human sexuality.

Girls, Boys, and High Achievers

This paper studies the effect of exposure to female and male “high-achievers” in high school on the long-run educational outcomes of their peers. Using data from a recent cohort of students in the United States, we identify a causal effect by exploiting quasi-random variation in the exposure of students to peers with highly educated parents across cohorts within a school. We find that greater exposure to “high-achieving” boys, as proxied by their parents‘ education, decreases the likelihood that girls go on to complete a bachelor’s degree, substituting the latter with junior college degrees. It also affects negatively their math and science grades and, in the long term, decreases labor force participation and increases fertility. We explore possible mechanisms and find that greater exposure leads to lower self-confidence and aspirations and to more risky behavior (including having a child before age 18). The girls most strongly affected are those in the bottom half of the ability distribution (as measured by the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test), those with at least one college-educated parent, and those attending a school in the upper half of the socioeconomic distribution. The effects are quantitatively important: an increase of one standard deviation in the percent of “high-achieving” boys decreases the probability of obtaining a bachelor’s degree from 2.2-4.5 percentage points, depending on the group. Greater exposure to “high-achieving” girls, on the other hand, increases bachelor’s degree attainment for girls in the lower half of the ability distribution, those without a college-educated parent, and those attending a school in the upper half of the socio-economic distribution. The effect of “high-achievers” on male outcomes is markedly different: boys are unaffected by “high-achievers” of either gender.

Sex/Gender Attribution: When the Penis Makes the Difference

The present study aimed to replicate Kessler and McKenna’s (1978) ethnomethodological study that investigated how an individual attributes gender to a person. By administering figures depicted on overlays (Overlay Study), Kessler and McKenna found that the penis more than the vulva and the male sexual characteristics more than the female ones were significantly more salient in the gender attribution process. From all this, their adage is: “See someone as female only when you cannot see them as male.” Taking as a model Kessler and McKenna’s Overlay Study, we administered to 592 adults 120 new digital stimuli elaborated on realistic frontal images of human nudes to verify if the previously obtained results would be confirmed by using more realistic images. We found that the participants attributed male gender 86% of the time when the penis was shown, but only attributed female gender 67% of the time when the vulva was shown. All findings had strong statistical significance, confirming the findings of the Overlay Study that the penis makes the difference in gender recognition. Beyond an ethnomethodological approach, we have interpreted and discussed our results from the outlook of evolutionary and cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience, concluding that the cultural stereotypes and prejudices that affect gender attribution might not just be a mere cultural product, but rather the consequence of evolved cognitive biases.

Gender differences in motivated reasoning

Highlights
•I experimentally study whether there are gender differences in motivated reasoning.
• I find that there are significant gender differences in motivated reasoning about performance on a knowledge task: men systematically motivatedly reason to think they outperformed others, while women do not.
• I also find that there are sizeable gender differences in overconfidence in the same direction as motivated reasoning.
• I find that gender differences in motivated reasoning is only observed on the question about performance, and that there are no differences in politically-motivated reasoning.
• Results suggest that men and women are both susceptible to motivated reasoning in general, but that only men find it particularly attractive to believe that they outperform others.

Abstract
Men and women systematically differ in their beliefs about their performance relative to others; in particular, men tend to be more overconfident. This paper provides support for one explanation for gender differences in overconfidence, performance-motivated reasoning, in which people distort how they process new information in ways that make them believe they outperformed others. Using a large online experiment, I find that male subjects distort information processing in ways that favor their performance, while female subjects do not systematically distort information processing in either direction. These statistically-significant gender differences in performance-motivated reasoning mimic gender differences in overconfidence; beliefs of male subjects are systematically overconfident, while beliefs of female subjects are well-calibrated on average. The experiment also includes political questions, and finds that politically-motivated reasoning is similar for both men and women. These results suggest that, while men and women are both susceptible to motivated reasoning in general, men find it particularly attractive to believe that they outperformed others.

Structural, Functional, and Metabolic Brain Differences as a Function of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation: A Systematic Review of the Human Neuroimaging Literature

This review systematically explored structural, functional, and metabolic features of the cisgender brain compared with the transgender brain before hormonal treatment and the heterosexual brain compared to the homosexual brain from the analysis of the neuroimaging literature up to 2018, and identified and discussed subsequent studies published up to March 2021. Our main aim was to help identifying neuroradiological brain features that have been related to human sexuality to contribute to the understanding of the biological elements involved in gender identity and sexual orientation. We analyzed 39 studies on gender identity and 24 on sexual orientation. Our results suggest that some neuroanatomical, neurophysiological, and neurometabolic features in transgender individuals resemble those of their experienced gender despite the majority resembling those from their natal sex. In homosexual individuals the majority resemble those of their same-sex heterosexual population rather than their opposite-sex heterosexual population. However, it is always difficult to interpret findings with noninvasive neuroimaging. Given the gross nature of these measures, it is possible that more differences too subtle to measure with available tools yet contributing to gender identity and sexual orientation could be found. Conflicting results contributed to the difficulty of identifying specific brain features which consistently differ between cisgender and transgender or between heterosexual and homosexual groups. The small number of studies, the small-to-moderate sample size of each study, and the heterogeneity of the investigations made it impossible to meta-analyze all the data extracted. Further studies are necessary to increase the understanding of the neurological substrates of human sexuality.

A short review of biological research on the development of sexual orientation

Highlights
• We review biological research on the development of sexual orientation.
• Neural, prenatal hormonal, genetic, and the immune system mechanisms have been implicated.
• We discuss how development of sexual orientation may differ between men and women.
Abstract
We review research supporting biological mechanisms in the development of sexual orientation. This research includes studies on neural correlates, prenatal hormones and related physical/behavioral correlates, genetics, and the fraternal birth order effect (FBOE). These studies, taken together, have provided substantial support for biological influences underlying the development of sexual orientation, but questions remain unanswered, including how biological mechanisms may differ in contributing to men’s and women’s sexual orientation development.

Dirty laundry: The nature and substance of seeking relationship help from strangers online

Interpersonal relationships are vital to our well-being. In recent years, it has become increasingly common to seek relationship help through anonymous online platforms. Accordingly, we conducted a large-scale analysis of real-world relationship help-seeking to create a descriptive overview of the nature and substance of online relationship help-seeking. By analyzing the demographic characteristics and language of relationship help-seekers on Reddit (N = 184,631), we establish the first-ever big data analysis of relationship help-seeking and relationship problems in situ among the general population. Our analyses highlight real-world relationship struggles found in the general population, extending beyond past work that is typically limited to counseling/intervention settings. We find that relationship problem estimates from our sample are closer to those found in the general population, providing a more generalized insight into the distribution and prevalence of relationship problems as compared with past work. Further, we find several meaningful associations between relationship help-seeking behavior, gender, and attachment. Notably, numerous gender differences in help-seeking and romantic attachment emerged. Our findings suggest that, contrary to more traditional contexts, men are more likely to seek help with their relationships online, are more expressive of their emotions (e.g., discussing the topic of “heartache”), and show language patterns generally consistent with more secure attachment. Our analyses highlight pathways for further exploration, providing even deeper insights into the timing, lifecycle, and moderating factors that influence who, what, why, and how people seek help for their interpersonal relationships.

Envy Mediates the Relationship Between Physical Appearance Comparison and Women’s Intrasexual Gossip

Physical attractiveness is a central component of women’s mate value. However, the extent to which women possess attractive physical traits varies between individuals, placing less attractive women at a mating disadvantage. Researchers have suggested that envy may have evolved as an emotion that promotes intrasexual competition in response to unfavorable social comparisons on important mate value traits, such as physical attractiveness. Previous research has shown that envy mediates links between unfavorable appearance comparisons and women’s intended appearance-enhancement behavior. In the current research, we extended this framework to examine the link between upward appearance comparisons and women’s intrasexual gossip. Women were assigned to either an appearance comparison or control advertisement rating task, and subsequently completed measures of state envy and gossip toward a same-sex rival. Results found that induced appearance comparisons predicted increased envy, which in turn predicted greater willingness to spread negative (but not positive) gossip about an attractive woman. Two cross-sectional survey studies (online supplement) replicated the model whereby more self-reported upward appearance comparisons predicted more self-reported gossip (Supplemental Study 1) and indirect aggression toward other women (Supplemental Study 2), and these links were mediated by dispositional envy. These results support the hypothesis that envy is an adaptation that promotes intrasexual competition using social aggression in response to unfavorable social comparisons on important mate value traits.