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Phenotypic Signals of Sexual Selection and Fast Life History Dynamics for the Long-Term but Not Short-Term Mating
Evolutionary Psychology  (IF1.506),  Pub Date : 2021-11-29, DOI: 10.1177/14747049211057158
Janko Međedović

Mating patterns are crucial for understanding selection regimes in current populations and highly implicative for sexual selection and life history theory. However, empirical data on the relations between mating and reproductive outcomes in contemporary humans are lacking. In the present research we examined the sexual selection on mating (with an emphasis on Bateman's third parameter – the association between mating and reproductive success) and life history dynamics of mating by examining the relations between mating patterns and a comprehensive set of variables which determine human reproductive ecology. We conducted two studies (Study 1: N = 398, Study 2: N = 996, the sample was representative for participants’ sex, age, region, and settlement size). The findings from these studies were mutually congruent and complementary. In general, the data suggested that short-term mating was unrelated or even negatively related to reproductive success. Conversely, long-term mating was positively associated with reproductive success (number of children in Study 1; number of children and grandchildren in Study 2) and there were indices that the beneficial role of long-term mating is more pronounced in males, which is in accordance with Bateman's third principle. Observed age of first reproduction mediated the link between long-term mating and number of children but only in male participants (Study 2). There were no clear indications of the position of the mating patterns in human life history trajectories; however, the obtained data suggested that long-term mating has some characteristics of fast life history dynamics. Findings are implicative for sexual selection and life history theory in humans.