While humans may pride themselves on being highly evolved, most still behave like the stereotypical Neanderthals when it comes to choosing a mate, according to research by Indiana University cognitive scientist Peter Todd. In a new study, Todd and colleagues found that though individuals may claim otherwise, beauty is the key ingredient for men while women, the much choosier of the sexes, leverage their looks for security and commitment.
This formula has served humans throughout time, with the model of choosy females reflected in most mammals.
“Evolutionary theories in psychology suggest that men and women should trade off different traits in each other, and when we look at the actual mate choices people make, this is what we find evidence for,” Todd said. “Ancestral individuals who made their mate choices in this way — women trading off their attractiveness for higher quality men and men looking for any attractive women who will accept them — would have had an evolutionary advantage in greater numbers of successful offspring.”
Not exactly politically correct? Participants in Todd’s study might verbally agree, though their actions said something different.