Date of Thesis

2011

Thesis Type

Masters Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

T. Joel Wade

Abstract

Female mate preferences are complex due to their greater selectivity in mates according to the good genes sexual selection theory. Additionally, research shows that female’s behaviors and mate preferences change cyclically due to the importance of attracting amate when conception risk is highest. However, research has not examined whether there is a relationship between menstrual cycle changes and mate expulsion (the casting off of a mate or ending a relationship). The present research examined whether fertility riskaffects mate expulsion decisions. Female participants completed a questionnaire which included demographic questions, such as information about the length and date of their menstrual cycle, mate expulsion scenarios, and a social desirability scale. Effects ofcurrent relationship status (a demographic measure) were also examined. If fertility risk does have an influence, the following patterns were hypothesized. High fertility women will be less likely to expel their mate due to an increased chance of conception and a need for access to parental investment resources from their mate. The results obtained indicate that fertility risks do not influence female’s decisions to expel their mates. Current relationship status in conjunction with fertility risk does affect mate expulsion. Thesefindings are discussed in terms of prior research and evolutionary theory.

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