The Mating Sociometer

A Regulatory Mechanism for Mating Aspirations

Phillip S. Kavanagh, Sarah C. Robins, Bruce J. Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Two studies (Ns = 80 and 108) tested hypotheses derived from Kirkpatrick and Ellis's (2001) extension and application of sociometer theory to mating aspirations. Experiences of social rejection-acceptance by attractive opposite-sex confederates were experimentally manipulated, and the impact of these manipulations on self-esteem, mating aspirations, and friendship aspirations was assessed. Results indicated that social rejection-acceptance by members of the opposite sex altered mating aspirations; that the causal link between social rejection-acceptance and mating aspirations was mediated by changes in state self-esteem; and that the impact of social rejection-acceptance by members of opposite sex was specific to mating aspirations and did not generalize to levels of aspiration in approaching potential same-sex friendships. This research supports a conceptualization of a domain-specific mating sociometer, which functions to calibrate mating aspirations in response to experiences of romantic rejection and acceptance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-132
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume99
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes

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Social Distance
acceptance
friendship
self-esteem
level of aspiration
Self Concept
manipulation
experience
Aspirations (Psychology)

Cite this

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The Mating Sociometer : A Regulatory Mechanism for Mating Aspirations. / Kavanagh, Phillip S.; Robins, Sarah C.; Ellis, Bruce J.

In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 99, No. 1, 07.2010, p. 120-132.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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