The effects of pubertal timing and dominance on the mating strategy, appearance and behaviour of men
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Pubertal timing is a human life history variable representing a trade-off between early reproduction and continued growth. Dominance is an important feature to male mate value. These two variables should have far-reaching effects on adult male life. Chapter 1 reviews evolution, r/K selection and life history theory to derive hypotheses concerning variation in male mating strategy. Chapters 2-4 investigate the effects of pubertal timing and dominance on mating strategy using sociosexual orientation and preferences for faces and mate characteristics. Both early puberty and high dominance associate with unrestricted sociosexuality (increased interest in casual sex) as predicted. Dominance is shown to relate to preferences for cues of sociosexuality but not femininity, while pubertal timing relates to neither facial characteristic. Earlier and later developing men do not differ in their mate characteristic preferences, while dominant men exhibit enhanced female-typical mate preferences counter to predictions. A dominance-dependent, dual, male mating strategy is proposed to account for results. Chapter 5 introduces sensitivity to putative human pheromones as an indicator of mating strategy. Dominant men are found to be more sensitive to and more averse to a putative female pheromone. Pubertal timing has no effect on sensitivity. Results are interpreted in terms of dominant male avoidance of infertile matings. Chapter 6 finds that early puberty associates with facial masculinity, attractiveness and apparent age. Chapter 7 offers a hormonal underpinning of effects related to pubertal timing, showing that early development associates with higher levels of testosterone in men. Chapter 8 uses digit length ratios to show that early developing men may have been exposed to greater levels of uterine testosterone, suggesting prenatal influences on male pubertal timing. Chapter 9 shows dominance associates with bodily, vocal and general attractiveness but not facial attractiveness. Chapter 10 reports that dominance associates with high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, suggesting costs of high dominance. Chapter 11 shows early pubertal timing relates to the visual appearance of skin, perhaps because of lower sebum production among early developing men, leading to them having darker, less reflective skin. This may reflect accelerated ageing of early developing males, potentially representing a cost to longevity.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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