Women's mate selection criteria can be expected to include a preference for men who can protect them and their offspring. However, aggressive dominance and physical formidability are not an unalloyed good in a partner; as such, men are likely to be coercive toward their mates. Accordingly, because of the potential costs of living with an aggressively dominant and physically formidable mate, a woman's preferences in this regard can be expected to vary as a function of the appraisal of her vulnerability to aggression — the more that a woman sees herself as potentially benefiting from protection, the more that she can be expected to favor aggressive dominance and physical formidability in a mate. Across three Internet-based studies of US women, we found evidence consistent with this perspective, such that women's fear of crime predicted her preference for long-term mates who are aggressively dominant and physically formidable.
Evolution and Human Behavior – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 2011
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