Simple complex thought: Sex-attraction examples

Great thinkers think complex thoughts, according to one simple line of reasoning. Here’s are two related studies. Alone and together, they demonstrate some surprising, and surprisingly complex, thinking. The first study [via NCBI ROFL] is:

The best men are (not always) already taken: female preference for single versus attached males depends on conception risk,” Paola Bressan [pictured here, thinking] and Debora Stranieri, Psychological Science, 2008 Feb;19(2):145-51.

The authors, at the University of Padua, Italy, explain:

“Because men of higher genetic quality tend to be poorer partners and parents than men of lower genetic quality, women may profit from securing a stable investment from the latter, while obtaining good genes via extrapair mating with the former. Only if conception occurs, however, do the evolutionary benefits of such a strategy overcome its costs. Accordingly, we predicted that (a) partnered women should prefer attached men, because such men are more likely than single men to have pair-bonding qualities, and hence to be good replacement partners, and (b) this inclination should reverse when fertility rises, because attached men are less available for impromptu sex than single men. In this study, 208 women rated the attractiveness of men described as single or attached. As predicted, partnered women favored attached men at the low-fertility phases of the menstrual cycle, but preferred single men (if masculine, i.e., advertising good genetic quality) when conception risk was high.”

The study includes the following chart, the meaning of which is related to the  central line of thinking in a complex way [not presented adequately here, due to space and other limitations]:

Bresson is also author of the seminally-related study that depends on complex thought:

Why babies look like their daddies: paternity uncertainty and the evolution of self-deception in evaluating family resemblance,” Paola Bressan, Acta Ethologica, 4, 113-118, 2002.

The reasoning involves a study done by an earlier scientist. Here is Bresson’s simple description of that earlier complex reasoning. Here, too, is a simple list of the parameters used in that reasoning: