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Mate ChoiceThe Evolution of Sexual Decision Making from Microbes to Humans$
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Gil G. Rosenthal

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691150673

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691150673.001.0001

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Measuring Preferences and Choices

Measuring Preferences and Choices

(p.31) Chapter 2 Measuring Preferences and Choices
Mate Choice

Gil G. Rosenthal

Princeton University Press

Studies of mating outcomes range from behavioral observations of social affiliation in the wild, to laboratory experiments where individual choosers and courters are paired in isolation. However, mating outcomes do not tell us much about mating preferences. In order to understand what is going on inside the heads and bodies of choosers, we need to measure not only the mate choices of choosers—how choosers discriminate among actual mates—but also the underlying preferences: choosers' internal representation of courter traits. This chapter begins by discussing how mating outcomes are measured. It then presents a conceptual framework for thinking about how preferences are structured, followed by a discussion of the options for empirically measuring mating preferences and the pitfalls associated with each approach.

Keywords:   mate choice, mating outcomes, mating preferences, mate selection, choosers, courters

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