SDSU men and women seem to live a far cry from the time of cave-dwellers with clubs. Especially when it comes to dating and mating.
But maybe they have more in common with prehistoric man than they realize.
According to SDSU Psychology Professor Beverly King, men and women have primal instincts that affect who they are attracted to even today.
She says there are three factors that determine who we are attracted to: proximity, similarity and physical attractiveness. Possibly the most primal of the three is physical attractiveness.
According to studies done by evolutionary psychologists, physical attractiveness is still determined by a basic desire to breed.
Therefore, men are subconsciously attracted to women who appear fertile.
Some characteristics that instinctively convey fertility in women include young age, good health and even symmetrically placed facial features. Symmetry of facial features has been a sign of “beauty” throughout history. (See “About face”)
One theory even states that men prefer a woman whose hip size is roughly one-third larger then her waist, practical for childbirth.
“I have a friend who always says ‘wide hips, good for breeding,’ ” said Sophomore Lonnie Lembcke. “I don’t care for the most part … as long as things aren’t to the extremes.”
When in comes to physical attractiveness, women may not have the same views.
In a study done by researcher Devendra Singh, men were shown female figure drawings. They consistently voted the figure with the 70 percent waist-to-hip ratio most attractive. Women shown the same drawings often chose the one that was “thinner” then the men preferred, possibly affected by current national trends towards extreme thinness.
Women in prehistoric times were also attracted to men on the basis of successful reproduction. They chose men who would stay around after conception to provide food, protection and other resources.
Therefore, evolutionary psychologists believe women are still drawn to strong men with commitment and resource potential.
“If they have a strong commitment potential, guys are more likely to stick around when things get tough,” said Kristin Mehlbrech, a junior nursing major. “I’m attracted to guys you know would be able to protect you.”
Senior Jill Hericks also prefers men who seem strong and dependable.
“I like attitude,” she said. “I don’t like guys who are babies.”
Although these primal instincts seem to be alive and well when it comes to attraction, modern times have changed them a little. With reproduction for survival of the species less of a priority, men and women today have the luxury of choosing a mate based on more then just physical traits.
“I think having the same values is pretty important,” Lembcke said.
Spoken like a true modern man.