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Gender Differences in behavior during Attraction in Mate Selection
Introduction
Attraction can be defined as “an empowering emotion and a positive attitude of one person to another, displayed by the desire to approach and be closer to another person” (Karandashev & Fata, 2014, pp. 257-267). (Karandashev & Fata, 2014)also define interpersonal attraction as “any force of varying intensity that draws an individual to another person, including the tendency to move closer to him/her cognitively, emotionally, and behaviorally; this leads people to think, feel, and act positively toward someone else”. Attraction can take multiple forms, for instance liking, love, friendship, lust, and admiration. Before dating and courtship, there must be some type of attraction, which can be either on a physical or personal level. The initial attraction to a potential mate is highly influenced with factors such as physical attractiveness, proximity (closeness geographically), similarity in their characteristics such as race, religion education, intelligence, attitude, and reciprocity in liking.
When it comes to romantic attraction, the consistent sex-role stereotype across different genders on the degree of importance in factors when determining the choice of a partner comes into play. Across decades of assessment, across different methodologies and culture, most men placed a greater emphasis on the physical characteristics such as looks while women strongly valued personal qualities such as intelligence and earning power than the men (Fisman, Iyengar, Kamenica, & Simonson, 2005). Across time, this importance that men and women have placed on characteristics during mate selection have changed. Currently, both men and women place a premium on the characteristics of “pleasing disposition” and “emotional stability” (Shackelford , Schmitt , & Buss).
Apart from the factors that are considered during mate selection, there is communication that occurs between the sexes during attraction. This paper outlines the verbal and non-verbal styles of communication that are involved during the attraction in the initial encounter which show interest to the other potential mate. Also, it points out what factors are considered when looking for a mate. Sex differences in mate preferences and behavior during the initial contact are much larger and differ strikingly than previously known.
Gender Differences in Initiating and Communicating relationship interest.
The theory of Parental Investment states that the sex that invests the most in reproduction (female), are more selective in choosing a mate, whereas the sex that invests the least (male) is more likely to leave and pursue additional mating opportunities (Wang, 2016). This is not only in humans but also in other species. Evolved psychological mechanisms are such that females want to be courted, which requires time and effort investments from males. These investments reduce the males’ tendency to leave a female for additional mating and increases their need to be ensured of exclusive access to their partner (De Weerth ; Kalma, 1995).
Attraction behavior is first determined by nonverbal cues, which convey affectionate interest or an empowering emotion in individuals. Different to what is often believed by most that men make the first move, the initial attempts in making contact are performed more often by women. They attract attention by “displaying subtle, nonverbal solicitation, characterized by eye-contact immediately followed by looking away, special postures and ways of walking, pouting, eyebrow flashing, primping, smiling, head tossing, neck presentation, nodding, hair flip, gaze fixation, room-encompassing glance, lip licking and ‘dancing’ on the chair” (De Weerth ; Kalma, 1995). These signals are of importance, because men are usually hesitant to approach a woman in the absence of the signs of interest mentioned. Thus, in response to these signals males often make the first overt move. Rather surprisingly however, although in line with beliefs about gender roles, males usually say they use seduction more frequently than females and they erroneously conclude that they started the interaction while their approach is dependent upon the female’s initiating behaviors (De Weerth & Kalma, 1995). Therefore, despite their apparent sensitivity to the females’ subtle signals, males seem to process these signals in a largely sub-conscious way. In line with their female approval contingent approach, males also are more eager than females to return a flirtation, and according to (De Weerth ; Kalma, 1995) they think that they should take the initiative for making contact.
After the initial contact is made, one-person approaches or moves nearer the other and verbal interaction often follows. Usually, a sequence of interactions follows: talking will be accompanied by gradual turning to face each other, followed by touching and synchronization of body movements (Perper, 1986).Once the individuals are engaged in conversation, the way they present themselves influence the course of the encounter. There is eagerness to determine common interests and compatibilities (Sieff , 2005).The individuals aim to impress each other and to “see through” each other’s “act”. Consequently, changes occur in behavior: some personal traits are emphasized, particularly the desirable ones, while undesirable ones are avoided. For instance, males use verbal tactics such as trying to appear cool, intelligent, fair, leading an exciting life, having prestigious occupations. They also use self-disclosure and express wishes for love and a permanent relationship.
Gender differences during mate selection
Traditionally, women looked for men of high-status of financial provider and social dominance. In terms of age, it was not uncommon for them to be a younger, put less emphasis on looks but more on their status in society. Status was an indication that he would be a good husband, father and able to provide for the family (Turner & Crisp, 2010).Men traditionally did not pay attention to the status women held and were more into what they found physically attractive. The standards of beauty varied with a man’s personal taste. Some preferred more curvaceous larger women while others preferred slimmer women. Also, women with healthier weight were believed being capable of childbearing without complications (Turner ; Crisp, 2010).

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