Friday, August 11, 2006

What's Exotic is Erotic

If 90% of the people on this planet sport the usual primate pattern of dark hair and dark eyes, then why do some people come in paler shades?

Consider a simple experiment:
Place a photo of a fair skinned redhead with blue eyes among 3 photos of brunettes who have darker skin and brown eyes. Place that same redhead among larger crop of brunettes. Is the same woman rated more attractive when she's seen with a larger number of brunettes?

Yes, that's exactly what happened when Thomas Thelen conducted the experiment. He found the reverse too - when the brunette was rare, she was more attractive.

Sexual selection, in addition to natural selection, provides a mechanism by which organisms can change over time. Sexual selection involves two parts: 1) outcompeting same-sex rivals for mates and 2) being selected as a mate - often in that order.

So, what's exotic is erotic.

A Persian immigrant in a sea of Scandanavian blonds will be able to attract attention away from her fair haired rivals, all other things being equal.

Those other things?
Healthy skin & hair, symmetrical face and body, hourglass shape, and - KINDNESS!

For all of the EP talk about the importance of physical beauty for women in the mating game, we rarely hear about personality.

Personality goes a long way.

What do you think this "rarity principle" has to say about the evolution of personality?

2 comments:

Alasdair said...

That Allah loves wondrous diversity...

Holly said...

Yeah, evolution favors the odd - and beetles.