Kandrik M, Jones BC & DeBruine LM (2015). Scarcity of female mates predicts regional variation in men’s and women’s sociosexual orientation across US states. Evolution and Human Behavior, 36(3): 206-210. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2014.11.004

Previous studies have linked regional variation in willingness to engage in uncommitted sexual relationships (i.e., sociosexual orientation) to many different socio-ecological measures, such as adult sex ratio, life expectancy, and gross domestic product. However, these studies share a number of potentially serious limitations, including reliance on a single dataset of responses aggregated by country and a failure to properly consider intercorrelations among different socio-ecological measures. We address these limitations by (1) collecting a new dataset of 4,453 American men’s and women’s sociosexual orientation scores, (2) using multilevel analyses to avoid aggregation, and (3) deriving orthogonal factors reflecting US state-level differences in the scarcity of female mates, environmental demands, and wealth. Analyses showed that the scarcity of female mates factor, but not the environmental demand or wealth factors, predicted men’s and women’s sociosexual orientation. Participants reported being less willing to engage in uncommitted sexual relationships when female mates were scarce. These results highlight the importance of scarcity of female mates for regional differences in men’s and women’s mating strategies. They also suggest that effects of wealth-related measures and environmental demands reported in previous research may be artifacts of intercorrelations among socio-ecological measures or, alternatively, do not necessarily generalize well to new datasets.

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