Adaptive allocation of attention: effects of sex and sociosexuality on visual attention to attractive opposite-sex faces

Lesley A. Duncan, Justin H. Park, Jason Faulkner, Mark Schaller, Steven Neuberg, Douglas Kenrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

We tested the hypothesis that, compared with sociosexually restricted individuals, those with an unrestricted approach to mating would selectively allocate visual attention to attractive opposite-sex others. We also tested for sex differences in this effect. Seventy-four participants completed the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory and performed a computer-based task that assessed the speed with which they detected changes in attractive and unattractive male and female faces. Differences in reaction times served as indicators of selective attention. Results revealed a Sex×Sociosexuality interaction: Compared with sociosexually restricted men, unrestricted men selectively allocated attention to attractive opposite-sex others; no such effect emerged among women. This finding was specific to opposite-sex targets and did not occur in attention to same-sex others. These results contribute to a growing literature on the adaptive allocation of attention in social environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-364
Number of pages6
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Volume28
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2007

Keywords

  • Attention
  • Attractiveness
  • Change detection
  • Mating
  • Sex differences
  • Social cognition
  • Sociosexuality
  • Visual attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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