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Title: Processes of pairbonding
Author: Wlodarski, Rafael
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 9698
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis expands our understanding of the role of several different mating behaviours in the process of forming and maintaining human mating pair-bonds. Chapter 2 investigated within-sex mating strategies and found that their distribution reflects the presence of two phenotypes, one favouring the pursuit of short-term mating and one the establishment of mating pair-bonds, each driven by prenatal testosterone exposure. Chapter 3 investigated the possible functional role of kissing in mating relationships, and found that it was utilised divergently by individuals pursuing different mating strategies, with those interested in short-term mating utilising it to assess the suitability of potential mates at initial relationship stages, and those interested in long-term mating using it to mediate pair-bond attachments. Chapter 4 examined female attitudes towards kissing across the menstrual cycle and found that attitudes varied with cycle phase, mediated by fluctuations in the hormone progesterone. This chapter also investigated the effects of kissing-related information on mate assessment and found that such information influenced mate desirability, even in the presence of typically dominant visual cues. Lastly, Chapter 5 investigated the cognitive effects of established pair-bonds, finding that individuals ‘in love’ with a mating partner show improved empathising abilities, particularly males when it comes to assessing negative emotional states in others. Using an evolutionary framework, each chapter of this thesis contributes novel insights to our understanding of these diverse behaviours. These results suggest that that future research must take into account within-sex phenotypic differences in order to truly understand human mating strategy decisions, and that different mating strategy phenotypes might adaptively utilise the same courtship behaviours in divergent ways. Furthermore, these results also suggest that pair-bonding in humans may be a relatively recent phenomenon, and that the formation of such pair-bonds can have adaptive cognitive effects for males within such bonded relationships.
Supervisor: Dunbar, Robin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Experimental psychology ; Social psychology ; pair-bonding ; mating strategies ; romantic relationships ; kissing ; love