Large Scale Decisions in Human Mating
Project dates: 09/07/2015 - 30/11/2018
Human mating is a central theme across a range of research disciplines (Sociology, Evolutionary Psychology, Biology, Demography and Economics). Of particular interest to all these fields, is the decision making process employed by humans when we choose a partner or mate. Behavioural economics has led a shift away from the normatively appealing purely rational-choice models in selection as they lack descriptive capabilities (Camerer, 1998).
Behavioural economists and wider behavioural sciences are fascinated with the impact and effect that preferences, personality and attitudes have on the decision making process. There can arguably be no greater economic decision than of that to pursue a (sexual) relationship with someone. Our partner and any resulting offspring can take more time and resources than any other decision we make.
The exploration of the variation in sexuality impacts the decision making process is in its infancy. Studies of preferences in mate selection have explored areas such as education, gender differences and racial preference (Fisman, Iyengar, Kameinca & Simonson. 2006, 2008). Other research has theorized of the impact of culture on the value of mates and their sexuality (Baumeister & Twenge 2002) particularly in relation to sex differences. And economists have even begun to model polyamorous sexuality (D’Orlando 2010) to try and understand both its evolutionary underpinning and its impact and implications for future fiscal policy direction.
Understanding the role of personality, emotion, cooperation, resources (education and income) and attractiveness across gender and sexualities, and its impact on the decision making process is of vital importance for wider behavioural science.
Funding / Grants
- Funded by the BEST Centre (2015 - 2018)
Other Team Members
- Scientia Professor Robert C. Brooks – University of New South Wales
- Dr Khandis Blake – University of New South Wales
- Professor Athena Aktipis – Arizona State University
- Cari Pick (PhD Candidate) – Arizona State University
- Jessica Ayers (PhD Candidate) – Arizona State University
- Asc Professor Jaimie Krems – Oklahoma State University
- Professor Adam Cohen – Arizona State University
- Jordan Moon (PhD Candidate) - Arizona State University
- Dr D. Vaughn Becker - Arizona State University
- Giga Pty Ltd
- Australian Sex Party
- Eros Association
- Max Black
- Chan, Ho Fai, Torgler, Benno, Whyte, Stephen (2021) Exploring sexual orientation beyond genital arousal: Using large-scale online dating contact behavior to study male and female bisexuality Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118 (12), pp.Article number: e2026320118.
- Blake, K., Godwin, M., & Whyte, S. (2020). I sexually identify as an Attack Helicopter”: Incels, trolls, and non-binary gender politics online. First Monday, 25(9). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v25i9.10601
- Whyte, Stephen, Brooks, Robert, Chan, Ben, Torgler, Benno (2019) Do certain personality traits provide a mating market competitive advantage? Sex, offspring & the big 5 Personality and Individual Differences, 139, pp.158-169.
- Whyte, Stephen, Brooks, Robert, Torgler, Benno (2018) Man, woman, “other”: Factors associated with nonbinary gender identification Archives of Sexual Behavior, 47 (8), pp.2397-2406.
- “Sex Survey Names 33 Kinds Of Gender Identity, Suggesting It Is ‘More Nuanced’ Than Some Believe” (Huffington Post, 30/07/2016)
- “When it comes to love: Personality matters” (Science Daily, 20/11/2018)
- “Revealed: The four personality traits that help men have MORE sex (but they don’t work the same for women)” (Daily Mail, 23/11/2018)
- “‘Attack Helicopters’ an online sub-culture to watch out for” (QUT Media, 01/09/2020)
- “Aussie Researchers Found Folks Who Make That Stupid ‘Attack Helicopter’ Joke Are Probs Incels” (Pedestrian, 01/09/2020)