Physical Strength As a Cue To Men's Capability As Protective Parents

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The selection of formidable male allies within coalitional settings is partially in the service of ensuring protection from physical threats for group members. Within these inferences could include specific judgments of formidable men as being effective at providing protection for their offspring, a judgment that could facilitate identification of prospective fathers who satisfy parenting goals. The current study sought to identify the specific value of men’s physical strength in shaping perceptions of their effectiveness in domains or protection and nurturance of offspring. Participants evaluated physically strong and weak in their effectiveness in these domains. Strong men were perceived as more effective in protecting their offspring than weak men, with this advantage corresponding with strong men being perceived as less effective in nurturance. We frame results from an affordance management framework considering the role of functional inferences shaping interpersonal preferences.

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