Date of Award

5-2018

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Kinesiology

First Advisor

Donald Sacco, Ph.D

Advisor Department

Psychology

Abstract

Men and women are motivated to identify and procure mating opportunities that would best facilitate the survival and long-term reproductive success of their offspring. In the current study, we hypothesized that when primed with mating interest, men and women would report greater self-efficacy in behavioral domains that would be attractive to the opposite sex. Men and women were randomly assigned to a mating or control prime condition, then completed a self-efficacy scale tapping into behaviors related to physical attractiveness enhancement, dominance, and status; participants also completed a scale assessing their level of intrasexual competitiveness. It was predicted that men primed with mating would report greater self-efficacy in the domains of dominance and status compared to men in the control condition. Women, on the other hand, were expected to report greater self-efficacy in the domain of physical attractiveness enhancement compared to women in the control prime condition. The effects of the mating prime on self-efficacy enhancement were expected to be especially pronounced for those higher in dispositional intrasexual competitiveness. This study found partial support for study hypotheses. Women primed with mating reported greater attractiveness self-efficacy than those in the control prime condition. Additionally, men and women higher in intrasexual competitiveness reported higher mating self-efficacy in the domains of dominance and attractiveness. Surprisingly, women primed with mating reported elevated self-efficacy in the domain of status acquisition compared to women in the control prime condition. Men, regardless of condition, reported higher mating self-efficacy across domains relative to women.

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