The mating sociometer : a regulatory mechanism for mating aspirations
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 authored by Phillip KavanaghPhillip Kavanagh, B Ellis, S Robins
Two studies (Ns = 80 and 108) tested hypotheses derived from Kirkpatrick and Ellis’ (2001) extension and application of sociometer theory to mating aspirations. Experiences of social acceptance-rejection by attractive opposite-sex confederates were experimentally manipulated, and the impact of these manipulations on self-esteem, mating aspirations, and friendship aspirations was assessed. Results indicated that social acceptance-rejection by members of the opposite-sex altered mating aspirations; that the causal link between social acceptance-rejection and mating aspirations was mediated by changes in state self-esteem; and that the impact of social acceptance-rejection by members of opposite-sex was specific to mating aspirations and did not generalize to levels of aspiration in approaching potential sex-sex friendships. This research supports a conceptualization of a domain-specific mating sociometer, which functions to calibrate mating aspirations in response to experiences of romantic acceptance and rejection.