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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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Aesthetics and Evaluation in Mate Choice

Aesthetics and Evaluation in Mate Choice

(p.121) Chapter 5 Aesthetics and Evaluation in Mate Choice
Mate Choice

Gil G. Rosenthal

Princeton University Press

This chapter deals with evaluation, whereby different stimulus combinations elicit different hedonic values: in the context of mate choice, they increase or decrease the probability of a mating decision by a chooser. It focuses on how some stimuli are hedonically marked as attractive, while others are marked as unattractive. Perceptually salient stimuli can elicit positive, neutral, or negative responses—indeed, the same stimulus can elicit very different responses among receivers who can all detect it equally well. The chapter suggests that preference evolution is at least as likely to involve evaluative mechanisms as opposed to the sensory periphery, perhaps leading to abrupt discontinuities in preferences among choosers.

Keywords:   mate choice, evaluation, beauty, perception, mating decision, chooser

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