Date of Thesis



Mate poaching is a suite of behaviors intended to attract someone who is already in a romantic relationship (Schmitt & Buss, 2001). Research suggests that when a couple has a discrepancy in attractiveness, the male tends to be more protective of his mate (Oltmanns et al., 2016). Additional research suggests that when a woman is in a committed relationship with a man who is less attractive than she is, men are more likely to report that they would try to infiltrate that couple (Moran et al., forthcoming.). Therefore, relationships, where there is a discrepancy, in the couple's mate value or attractiveness, may be more perceived to poachers. This project investigated the effects of discrepancy in attractiveness and how long the couple has been in the relationship on poaching. This study consisted of 222 heterosexual men. Participants saw a photo where the male was more attractive than the female, both were equal, or the female was more attractive. Accompanying the photos were three different descriptions regarding the couple's relationship duration (2 months, 4 years, or 8 years). Items were then presented regarding the couple's relationship and the participant's likelihood of poaching. Results revealed a significant effect for the photo of the couple on ratings: male attractiveness, and on how successful the poach would be. Findings suggest that discrepancy in attractiveness does affect mate poaching attempts.


short-term mate poaching, physical attractiveness, assortative mating, infidelity

Access Type

Masters Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Master of Science



First Advisor

T. Joel Wade