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How Men Age, a book review

Nothing would be more interesting than reading a book on men aging by the author who is an expert on comparative male life histories. Richard G. Bribiescas is a Professor of Anthropology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University, and has conducted research in evolutionary bk10807iology and endocrinology of human, as well as comparative studies on reproduction, growth, aging, and metabolism for many years. He is well-known for his research on male aging and reproductive senescence.

In the first chapter, Bribiescas explains what this book is all about and why Darwinian evolutionary theory is needed to gain a deeper understanding of male health, illness and aging. Additionally, he explains why it is important to consider aging across species and cross- culturally. While Bribiescas briefly explains how natural selection works, defines what he means by aging and concepts such as aging, life history theory and adaptation, he also lists the contents of the book by highlighting the points that he is going to extend in the upcoming chapters.

By implanting the seed of curiosity in the reader’s mind during the first chapter, Bribiescas begins the second chapter by explaining why aging happens from a biological perspective. … Read the rest here.
Pazhoohi, F. & Arantes, J. (2017). Book Review: How Men Age: What Evolution Reveals about Male Health and Mortality Frontiers in Psychology : 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00894

How to Live a Life with More Positive Than Negative Feelings?

Decision-making is the cognitive process of choosing a preferred option from among a set of options (Wilson and Keil 2001). Decision-making is present through every aspect of life, and making good decisions for every important occasion during lifetime is a human being’s constant endeavor (Garnham 2016). Historically, religion and philosophy have been the only domains not only acting as gateways for explaining the meaning of life (McGhee 1992) but also acting as guidelines for facilitating and directing human important decisions during lifetime.

Darwinian evolution by natural selection is regarded as another gateway capable of explaining the existence and meaning of life (Dawkins 1986). Menelaos Apostolou, Assistant Professor at the University of Nicosia, in his book, Feeling Good: An Evolutionary Perspective on Life Choices, explores human decision-making from the perspective of Darwinian evolutionary science by addressing the question of how to live a life characterized by more positive than negative feelings.

The book begins by criticizing philosophy’s inability to direct humans toward a happy life, simply because philosophy has had very little knowledge on human nature and mind. Instead, Apostolou acknowledges the work of Darwin and Wallace and the subsequent advancement in understanding human nature done by evolutionary theory. In general, in this book he argues that based on genetic makeup and environmental conditions, individuals should make decisions in their daily life that increase the chance of survival and reproduction.

In the first chapter, Apostolou briefly and in a very simple language explains the origin  and evolution of life and the fundamental evolutionary forces. Then, he summarizes ….

Read the rest here

—————————————————— Pazhoohi, F., & Arantes, J. (2016). How to Live a Life with More Positive Than Negative Feelings? A Review of Menelaos Apostolou, Feeling Good: An Evolutionary Perspective on Life Choices Evolutionary Psychological Science DOI: 10.1007/s40806-016-0069-1

Cuckoldary is rare in humans!

Human behavioral scientists argue that extra-pair copulation is adaptive in human females, as through extra-pair copulation, women can acquire good genes from other potential mates. This is suggested because it is found that women experience greater sexual attraction to particular extra-pair men, but not their own partners, during their highest peak of fertility (Gangestad & Thornhil, 2008).

However, recent genetic evidences cast doubt on such arguments and suggest that the rate of cuckoldry is very low in humans (around 1 percent). To achieve historical records on cuckoldry, scientists compare family specific Y chromosomal variation between men that based on genealogical evidence, are patrilineally related. “The surprising result of these new studies is that human extra-pair paternity rates have stayed near-constant at around 1% across several human societies over the past several hundred years” (Larmuseau et al., 2016). Greeff and Erasmus (2015) also showed that genetic analysis in Afrikaner families in South Africa shows 0.9% rate of cuckoldry and argued that given the current data on historical populations we have to conclude that, at least for Western human populations, cuckoldry rate is probably in the range of 1%”.

So what does it mean? Does the rarity of cuckoldry in human historical records mean that women do not look for potential mates with good genes, or it simply means that human men are good in mate retention and anti-cuckoldry tactics? That’s the question that should be considered now.

————————————————— Gangestad, S., & Thornhill, R. (2008). Human oestrus Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 275 (1638), 991-1000 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2007.1425

Greeff, J., & Erasmus, J. (2015). Three hundred years of low non-paternity in a human population Heredity, 115 (5), 396-404 DOI: 10.1038/hdy.2015.36

Larmuseau MH, Matthijs K, & Wenseleers T (2016). Cuckolded Fathers Rare in Human Populations. Trends in ecology & evolution, 31 (5), 327-9 PMID: 27107336

Mate Retention Tactics Decline with Age of Men

Physical attractiveness influences mate selection across cultures, and youthfulness of women is associated with their future reproductive value and fertility. Men attribute importance to youthful features in females such as large eyes, small nose, higher pitched voice, and full lips and perceive these neotenous features as attractive. More feminine women report more frequently being guarded by their partners than less feminine and less attractive women; (Mate retention or mate guarding tactics are behaviors that men and women use to reduce the likelihood of their partner’s infidelity. For example, vigilance, monopolization of mate’s time, emotional manipulation, and derogation of competitors are just to name a few).

Additionally, men undergo hormonal (i.e. testosterone) age-related changes which are associated with decreased ability to attract mates, compete with rival men, decreased sexual motivation, energy availability, and a compromised ability to acquire resources. Men over 45 years report decreased sexual desire, sexual arousal, and activity.

In their recent paper, Pazhoohi, Jahromi, and Doyle (2016) showed that as men age, mate retention tactic use declines. Considering age-dependent testosterone decrease and the association of testosterone with the intensity of mate retention, they showed that men show a lesser degree of mate retention behaviors as they age.

However, one limitation of their study has been that they have not measured testosterone, as they state “The major limitation of the current study is the lack of direct measures of testosterone from male participants. Further investigations would be appropriate to test circulating or salivary testosterone levels and their relationship to mate retention behavior performed by men and at what age.”

ResearchBlogging.orgPazhoohi, F., Jahromi, A., & Doyle, J. (2016). Mate Retention Tactics Decline with Age of Iranian Men Evolutionary Psychological Science DOI: 10.1007/s40806-016-0046-8

Cross-cultural variation in men’s preference for sexual dimorphism in women’s faces

Both attractiveness judgements and mate preferences vary considerably cross-culturally. We investigated whether men’s preference for femininity in women’s faces varies between 28 countries with diverse health conditions by analysing responses of 1972 heterosexual participants. Although men in all countries preferred feminized over masculinized female faces, we found substantial differences between countries in the magnitude of men’s preferences. Using an average femininity preference for each country, we found men’s facial femininity preferences correlated positively with the health of the nation, which explained 50.4% of the variation among countries. The weakest preferences for femininity were found in Nepal and strongest in Japan. As high femininity in women is associated with lower success in competition for resources and lower dominance, it is possible that in harsher environments, men prefer cues to resource holding potential over high fecundity.


Marcinkowska UM, Kozlov MV, Cai H, Contreras-Garduño J, Dixson BJ, Oana GA, Kaminski G, Li NP, Lyons MT, Onyishi IE, Prasai K, Pazhoohi F, Prokop P, Rosales Cardozo SL, Sydney N, Yong JC, & Rantala MJ (2014). Cross-cultural variation in men’s preference for sexual dimorphism in women’s faces. Biology letters, 10 (4) PMID: 24789138

Why do we play? And why it is attractive?!

Question of the origin of play and playfulness has been one concern of Garry Chick, Professor at the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management, Penn State University. From an evolutionary perspective, Professor Chick has developed a theory in which he explains adult play and playfulness. It is now known why children and offspring play and what the advantages of play would be in their adult life – they are mentally being prepared for the problems and conflicts that they might face in their adult life. But what is the advantage of play and playfulness in human adults?

Professor Chick has proposed that “both male and female adult humans prefer mates who are playful because playfulness signals desirable attributes in possible mates.” Playfulness in males signals that they are not aggressive and would not harm the mother and the offspring. So females would prefer playful and harmless males. And playfulness in females signals health and fecundity, according to Professor Chick. On this basis, adult playfulness seems to be attractive to the opposite sex.

Professor Chick and two of his colleagues investigated this hypothesis experimentally and supported that with data. The article is now published in the latest issue of American Journal of Play and is accessible for free here.

ResearchBlogging.orgGarry Chick, Careen Yarnal, and Andrew Purrington (2012). Play and Mate Preference Testing the Signal Theory of Adult Playfulness American Journal of Play, 4 (4)

Does attractiveness predict reproductive success?

Thanks to the scientific investigations, now we know physical attractiveness would boost one’s social and sexual success. Attractive females would have more chances of being hired, and having attract/sustain men with more resources. It is hypothesized that female physical attractiveness is the signal for her fertility; i.e. men prefer attractive women because they are more fertile! But, the question is that if there is any relationship between women’s attractiveness and their reproductive success or if attractive women have more progeny.

It’s been an old question – at least for the evolutionary biologists and evolutionary psychologists – if the physical attractiveness would guaranty the reproductive success. Human ethologists at the University of Vienna have investigated the question and reported that the attractive women have more biological offspring than less attractive women. The sample was women who never used hormonal contraceptives.

This paper would be published in the upcoming issue of Evolution and Human Behavior.

ResearchBlogging.orgLena S. Pflüger, Elisabeth Oberzaucher, Stanislav Katina, Iris J. Holzleitner,, & Karl Grammer (2012). Cues to fertility: perceived attractiveness and facial shape predict reproductive success Evolution & Human Behavior DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2012.05.005