Below I have posted descriptions of 4 men from a case study I was involved with as part of a graduate study for personality psychology. Before you ask, no, this wasn’t an original study, however it was a measures experiment we performed to see how the results matched with our own university.These descriptions are excerpts from that case study comparing female mate selection. They were presented individually to 101 university women between the ages of 18 and 36. All were single/unmarried and none were aware of the intent of the experiment. I’ll present more details of the experiment after you have chance to respond so as not to spoil your genuine responses. Here are the descriptions:
M is an art student. M has always had a passion for painting and plans to pursue a career in art. He creates paintings of people and complex landscapes. His paintings are so lifelike that they are often mistaken for photographs. The consensus amongst his art professors is that he is, by far, the most talented student they have seen. One professor, an expert on lifelike paintings, says he believes M is one of the most talented artists ever to produce these paintings. To make extra money to support his schooling, M has sold a few of his best paintings. They have sold for between 100 and 200 dollars. One professor lamented that M’s paintings are worth far more, but like so many other artists, he will probably never make very much money selling them.
L is an art student. He paints abstract paintings. L came into art by chance. He took an art class as an elective because it fit well in his schedule. For his midterm project, he produced an abstract painting after an hour of “fooling around” with the paint and canvas. The majority of the painting actually consisted of paint he accidentally spilled onto the canvas. A very wealthy man who was looking for art for his home discovered L’s painting in the student art studio. He paid L $5,000 dollars for the painting. Some of the man’s other wealthy friends liked L’s painting and commissioned a total of $100,000 in paintings from him. L and his art professors were shocked at the success of L’s paintings, because, in the words of one professor, “he has no real talent, just some good luck.” L continues to capitalize on his success by selling his abstract art.
L and M are considered highly desirable by other women on campus and very attractive. Friends of L and M say that they are dependable, kind, and generous friends.
J is an entrepreneur who had great success in his first business venture. He started a small software business in a friend’s garage. His product was a new kind of software for improving factory designs to radically increase the profitability of manufacturing. Within his first year, J secured contracts with Ford, General Electric, and Boeing. In the next three years, J sold his software to most of the top manufacturing companies in the United States and several of the top companies in Asia. After 5 years in business, J’s company was valued at 120 million dollars and had 250 employees. The Wall Street Journal credited the success of J’s company to the “brilliance and novelty” of J’s product and to J’s “sheer genius as a businessman.” However, J’s company fell victim to misfortune the next year. After J rejected a take-over bid from Microsoft, Microsoft filed a lawsuit claiming that J’s software infringed on some of their patents. Although most experts agreed that the suit had no merit, the cost of defending himself against the lawsuit created huge cash flow problems for J, which drove the company into bankruptcy. Although J has very little money left, he has recently begun a new business venture to sell another of the software products he has invented.
R recently inherited 20 million dollars from the couple who had adopted him when he was a year old. They died in a car crash, having made their fortune in commercial real estate. Before they died, R worked as a sales person at a computer company. Although R worked at the company for several years, he had not advanced past his starting salary or rank within the company. He went to a community college, but after graduation he didn’t feel sure what to do with his life. A friend who was working at the computer company suggested that R join him and work there. In R’s words, “I guess I’m just not very good at this job. At least now I won’t have to worry about money any more.” R and his adoptive parents were very close, and he was deeply saddened by their deaths.
J and R are both attractive and in their mid-twenties. They were recently nominated as two of the most eligible bachelors in Los Angeles.
Bear in mind, these guys a theoretical archetypes, how they relate to women is irrelevant. How the subject women percieved them is what’s being assessed. Of these 4 men, which do you suppose was rated the highest in desirability with which to have a short-term sexual affair with by these women? And which man was rated the highest in desirability to enter into a long-term relationship with?
This study was done to determine comparative priorities in women with regards to male ‘creative intelligence’ vs.‘provisioning ability’ in female mate selection. I would’ve titled this thread as such, but I wanted to get some unbiased and impulse responses from readers here to see what the perceptions of these archetypes were from men and the reactions guys expected from women to these archetypes.
You’ll notice that care was taken in these archetype descriptions to balance out the physical attractiveness of each man (i.e. both artists were considered equally attractive by peers and both businessmen were ‘eligible’ bachelors). What was at issue wasn’t their extrinsic characteristics – comparative physiques or obvious Alpha presence – but what women chose in regards to these men’s intrinsic characteristics. The theory being that Creative Intelligence is of a higher mating value in the short term while a better Provisioning ability is more desirable in the long term. Bear in mind that hypergamy influences the decision making process for both of these sexual strategies. Also added was the caveat that legitimacy of provisioning ability, and the potential for future provisioning in it’s absence (i.e. the down on their luck men), played a factor in this mate selection.
So what exactly is “Creative Intelligence”? Although there is no firm consensus on how to define it, we often know it when we see it. We also know a bit about it from a century of creativity research. Within humans, creative intelligence is closely associated with the highly heritable general intelligence, and creative intelligence seems to rely on the generation, selective elaboration, and skillful implementation of ideas and strategies. In other words, creativity represents a strong capacity for successful improvisation, thus it became a desirable, selected-for species survival trait.
The problem is that creativity sounds desirable, as does intelligence, so “creative intelligence” can become a vague term that seems useful for solving any behavioral problem, whether technological, ecological, social, sexual, or cultural. Many plausible adaptive functions explain the origins of human creative intelligence. These include: tool-making and tool-using, hunting, foraging, and food preparation methods, social strategizing within and between groups and sexual courtship dynamics (i.e. hunter-gatherer proto-Game).
Sorry for the psych lesson, but we had to be specific.
As I elaborated in Schedules of Mating, most women face trade-offs in mating. In selecting a long-term mate, it makes hypergamic sense for women to put greater weight on traits that advertise ability and willingness to invest in protection, provisioning, and care of the woman and her offspring. This will favor the evolution of ‘good dad’ indicators – reliable cues of paternal investment ability and willingness to participate in those responsibilities. In our past, women of very high mate value (HB 8 and above) had the luxury of attracting a long-term mate who has both good dad potential and good genes. Fast forward through the ages and women have progressively had to settle for a committed partner who is not ideal either paternally or genetically. Then add to this the increasing complexity of men adapting to mimic these cues in order to facilitate their own breeding strategy. Consequently women are, by order of degree, incentivized to secure better genes or better paternal care from short-term or extra-pair partners, while simultaneously seeking long term provider males. Either would help at any time.
In this study, the idea was that, issues of relative attraction and arousal being satisfied, women will prefer a male possessing a higher capacity for Creative Intelligence in short-term sexual encounters to ensure the best possible future options for her offspring, while choosing a mate with better Provisioning ability for long term parental investment.
Art and business were chosen as two contrasting domains of work. Each requires distinct styles of creative intelligence, but both demand combinations of practical and theoretical skills, individual effort and social interaction. Hence, merit-based success in either domain may function as a mental fitness indicator. In each domain (art or business), one vignette described a man who showed high creative intelligence in his work, but who was poor due to bad luck and adverse circumstances. The other vignette in each set described a man who was average on creative intelligence, but who was wealthy due to good luck and beneficial circumstances. All vignettes made clear that each man’s creativity level was largely endogenous, reflecting natural (and presumably heritable) talent, but that his wealth level was largely accidental, gained through no merit or fault of his own.
Each woman completed two forced-choice questions: (1) “Based on these descriptions, who do you think you might find more desirable for a short-term sexual affair?”; (2) “Based on these descriptions, who do you think you might find more desirable for a long-term committed relationship?” (L or M in the artist vignettes, and R or J in the entrepreneur vignettes). Next, participants rated the desirability of each man as a short-term mate and as a long-term mate on two 9-point scales (where ‘1’ = not at all desirable, ‘5’ = average; ‘9’ = extremely desirable). The rating questions were as follows: “Overall, how desirable would you find L [M, R, or J] as a long-term partner?” “Overall, how desirable would you find L [M, R, or J] as a short-term partner?
In this study M was overwhelmingly chosen as the short term partner. 89% of the participants chose the naturally talented, but out of luck artist for a short term sexual encounter. 7% chose L the rich artist, 3% chose J the poor/talented businessman and 1% opted for R the wealthy/untalented businessman.
J was rated highest for a long-term relationship, but not as significantly as M in the short term. 67% of our subjects chose J, and surprisingly 17% chose L (rich artist). R was rated at 12% and M took 4% for the long term choice.