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Strategic reactions to infants: female self-presentation in a romantic context

Dosmukhambetova, Dina and Manstead, Antony Stephen Reid 2013. Strategic reactions to infants: female self-presentation in a romantic context. Evolutionary Psychology: An International Journal of Evolutionary Approaches to psychology and behavior 11 (2) , pp. 288-303.

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Abstract

Research has demonstrated that humans engage in various self-presentational behaviours in the context of mate attraction. We build and expand on these efforts by showing that female facial behaviour also responds to the manipulation of romantic motivation in ways congruent with the logic of evolutionary theory. Given that childbearing is an important goal of human courtship, we hypothesized that during the initial stages of romantic encounters one way that women can advertize their quality is through their emotional reactions to children. Two studies were conducted to determine whether women would self-present in the context of romance by augmenting positive reactions (e.g., smiling more) or by attenuating negative reactions (e.g., frowning less). In both studies participants were undergraduate psychology students. Study 1 was an online study; it examined reported facial expressions towards and cognitive evaluations of infants. Study 2 was a laboratory study in which participants’ spontaneous facial behavior was videotaped while they watched a video of infants (vs. a neutral film). In both studies we found support only for the hypothesis that, when in a romantic context, women attenuate negative reactions. Such attenuation was found for facial expressions, but not for cognitive or affective evaluations of infants.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: emotion, facial expressions, FACS, mate attraction, nonverbal behaviour, strategic communication
Funders: Dutch Science Foundation
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:06
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/56521

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