The Human Brain

The Human Brain

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mate Poaching: How Rivals Intend to Steal Your Mate

Evolutionary psychology has paid a lot of attention to mating strategies. Recent research has paid specific attention to strategies that people use to attract mates who are already in a committed relationship. Psychologists refer to these tactics as “mate poaching.”

David Schmitt, an evolutionary psychologist from Bradley University, and David Buss (2001), an evolutionary psychologist from the University of Texas at Austin, have defined mate poaching as “behavior intended to attract someone who is already in a romantic relationship.”

Schmitt and Buss’s (2001) research indicates that mate poaching is relatively common. They found that 50% of the participants in their study have attempted mate poaching and 80% reported that that they were victims of mate poaching, either receiving attraction attempts directed at themselves or observing attraction attempts on their partners.

In their article, Nifty Ways to Leave Your Lover, Schmitt and Todd Shakelford (2003), an evolutionary psychologist from the Florida Atlantic University, identifies the strategies that people use to encourage and disguise mate poaching. Their results indicated that offering sexual access and demonstrating beauty were effective strategies for females to encourage mate poaching. For men, demonstrating resources and being generous encouraged mate poaching.

Keep your eyes open for mate poachers. If you are in a romantic relationship, you may be in danger of having your mate poached. Remember, mate poaching is common. Many of us know mate poachers or have been mate poachers ourselves.

Do you know any mate poachers?

Learn more about mate poaching.


Dr. Yeti said...

Haha, maybe I should write a paper on mate poaching techniques...

What say you, Jared?

dr. snail said...

A similar pattern is seen in animal mating systems known as a 'lek'(e.g. some birds, lizards, fish, primates). In it, a dominant male holds the center territory and defends it. Females generally choose the dominant male, however, 'sneaker' males may mate with a female while the dominant male is not looking or is busy with another lady.

This act of 'sneaking', may help less fit individuals pass on less desirable traits, however, it also promotes genetic diversity, which is otherwise supressed by dominant males.

the yeti said...

"less fit individuals" eh, dr. snail? sounds quite familiar to me.

as far as dr. yeti writing an article on mate poaching, i think it very appropriate considering that he founded the field of mate poaching reasearch.