Relationship to Background Research Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 10 October 2017

Relationship to Background Research

Researchers Dunbar and Waynforth (1995) carried out research into human differences in mate selection by focusing on 900 different lonely-hearts ads taken from four different American newspapers. The investigation aimed to see what characteristics males and females looked for in potential mates by analysing each ad and recording how each person described themselves and what characteristics they looked for in a partner. It was found that women were more likely to advertise themselves as physically attractive, whereas males tended to highlight their economic status, displaying their potential ability to provide.

Darwin’s theory supports this, as stereotypically good looking women will be good child bearers and provide ample food and care for children, and therefore will be more likely to produce healthy children with good genes for the next generation. Similarly, by highlighting their economic status men label themselves as good providers for children and will be able to care and help throughout the child’s life, meaning chance of survival is higher. Furthermore, stereotypically good-looking men (big, muscley etc) will have a higher chance of survival and therefore pass on these good genes to their offspring.

I am going to investigate Darwin’s sexual strategy theory similarly to Dunbar’s methods, by looking into the way in which people advertise themselves in personal advertisements and seeing if they relate with Darwin’s, Andersson and Cunningham’s ideas about physical appearance and also pervious research done by Dunbar. I would be interested in finding out if Dunbar’s results done in America are similar to results that I will find in Macclesfield (England). I would further be interested in seeing if results have changed over time as men and women’s perceptions of each other may have differed in the last few years.

His research led to my directional hypothesis which is “Men will describe their resources more than youth and looks in personal advertisements, women will describe their looks and youth more than resources. “The aim of the experiment is to find out what characteristics men and women offer when advertising himself or herself as a potential mate and to investigate if there are gender differences between the way men and women make themselves attractive to the opposite sex through lonely hearts advertisements.

inspiration My directional hypothesis therefore, as influenced by Dunbar, is that heterosexual men will be more likely to offer resources such as wealth and financial stability. Heterosexual women, however, are more likely to offer youth and physical attractiveness. The null hypothesis would be as follows: there will be no significant difference between how men and women advertise themselves to the opposite sex.

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  • Date: 10 October 2017

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