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jones et al 2011

BC Jones, LM DeBruine, AC Little, CD Watkins & DR Feinberg. ‘Eavesdropping’ and perceived male dominance rank in humans. Animal Behaviour. 81(6): 1203-1208. pdf

Effects of social learning on mate preferences have been observed in a wide range of animal species, including humans. However, it is not known whether social learning also influences other important aspects of social perception in humans. Here we investigated whether ‘eavesdropping’, a form of social learning whereby observers extract information about individuals’ qualities by observing their interactions with others, influences men’s perceptions of the dominance of potential rivals. We found that observing the responses of other individuals modulates the perceived dominance of aggressors. Observers rated aggressors’ dominance higher when they had previously observed others responding to the aggressor in a fearful, intimidated manner than when they had observed others responding to the aggressor in an angry, aggressive manner. By contrast with this finding for rated dominance, observing identical interactions did not affect observers’ perceptions of the trustworthiness of the aggressors. The effect of observing others’ responses on the perceived dominance of aggressors demonstrates that eavesdropping influences perceptions of dominance rank among men, which would be adaptive if it reduces the costs (e.g. risk of serious injury and/or loss of resources) that may be associated with acquiring knowledge of others’ dominance rank via exclusively self-reliant learning. While previous research on social learning and sexual selection has focused on inter-sexual interactions (i.e. mate-choice copying effects), our findings suggest that eavesdropping may also influence sexual selection for male traits via intra-sexual competition.

little et al 2011

AC Little, J Connely, DR Feinberg, BC Jones & SC Roberts (2011). Human preference for masculinity differs according to context in faces, bodies, voices, and smell. Behavioral Ecology. 22(4): 862-868.  PDF


Fraccaro et al 2011

PJ Fraccaro, BC Jones, J Vukovic, FG Smith, CD Watkins, DR Feinberg, AC Little & LM DeBruine. Experimental evidence that women speak in a higher voice pitch to men they find attractive. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology. 9(1), 57-68 PDF


O’Connor et al 2011

O’Connor JJM, Re DE, Feinberg DR. Voice pitch influences perceptions of sexual infidelity, Evolutionary Psychology. 9(1):64-78 PDF


Watkins et al. 2011

Watkins CD, DeBruine LM, Little AC, Feinberg DR, Fraccaro PJ. Perceptions of partner femininity predict individual differences in men’s sensitivity to facial cues of male dominance Journal of Evolutionary Psychology. 9(1): 69-82 PDF (more…)

Vukovic et al. 2011

J Vukovic; BC Jones; DR Feinberg; LM DeBruine; FG Smith; LL Welling; AC Little.Variation in perceptions of physical dominance and trustworthiness predicts individual differences in the effect of relationship context on women’s preferences for masculine pitch in men’s voices.  Personality and Individual Differences, 49(8): 967-971. PDF