Date of Award
Recent evidence has suggested that ovulation in humans might be accompanied by subtle cues. Furthermore, several studies have suggested that women engage in intrasexual competition, or competition with members of the same sex, with the aim of obtaining high quality mates. This competition involves the use of complex strategies including self-promotion and rival derogation. The link between ovulation and intrasexual competition remains largely underexplored, although a few studies have suggested that intrasexual competition might become intensified during ovulation. This paper explores the relationship between ovulatory cue detection and intrasexual competition and outlines two research proposals for future analysis of this topic. Study 1 proposes an investigation of men and women’s perception of women’s gait. In this study, male and female participants would rate the attractiveness of women’s gait. Female participants would also rate these gaits on perceived threat. The menstrual cycle of both the walkers and raters would be taken into account. Either male or female confederates would walk behind the participants in order to test whether women reduce their gait attractiveness in the presence of female rivals and enhance it in the presence of potential mates. Study 2 outlines an experiment to test female scent as an ovulatory cue. Both males and females would rate the scent of women on attractiveness at different stages of the menstrual cycle. Females would also rate the scents on perceived threat. This study would help to clarify whether women’s ratings of other women are dependent on the menstrual cycle of both the female rater and the female being rated. Both the literature review and the proposed studies suggest a view of women as active contenders that play an essential role in the mating process within an evolutionary framework.
Munoz, Andres E., "From Passive Receptacles to Active Contenders: Ovulation and Intrasexual Competition in Human Females" (2014). Honor Scholar Theses. 21.