Female intrasexual competition and the detection of cyclical fertility status

Johns, Sarah E. and Whitehouse, Francesca J. (2014) Female intrasexual competition and the detection of cyclical fertility status. In: Human Evolution and Behaviour Network (HEBEN) Annual Conference, 23 Oct - 24 Oct 2014, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Abstract

Previous research has shown women become more competitive towards other women when they are most likely to conceive. However, the question of whether women can detect the fertility status their rivals and the consequences of being able to do so, has largely been ignored. Our results are the first to show that cyclical infertility is preferred by women judging the facial appearance of other women who were presented as “rivals”. Luteal phase images were significantly favored compared to those taken during either the follicular or menstrual phase, under scenarios where the presence of a fertile rival could threaten mate procurement or female social bonds. They support a hypothesis that an ability to detect fertility, and to be wary of it, may be part of an evolved strategy that modulates female/female agonistic interactions whereby women prevent their allies and potential sexual partners from having contact with ovulating women.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Lecture)
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Q Science
R Medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA788 Sexual health
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biological Anthropology
Depositing User: Sarah Johns
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2016 11:53 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2018 15:42 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/59061 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Johns, Sarah E.: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7715-7351
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