Assortative pairing and life history strategy

Aurelio José Figueredo, Pedro S.A. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


A secondary analysis was performed on preliminary data from an ongoing cross-cultural study on assortative pairing. Independently sampled pairs of opposite-sex romantic partners and of same-sex friends rated themselves and each other on Life History (LH) strategy and mate value. Data were collected in local bars, clubs, coffeehouses, and other public places from three different cultures: Tucson, Arizona; Hermosillo, Sonora; and San José, Costa Rica. The present analysis found that slow LH individuals assortatively pair with both sexual and social partners more strongly than fast LH individuals. We interpret this phenomenon as representing (1) an adaptation for preserving coadapted genomes in slow LH strategists to maintain high copying fidelity genetic replication while producing a lower number of offspring in stable, predictable, and controllable environments and (2) a bet-hedging adaptation in fast LH strategists, favoring the genetic diversification of a higher number of offspring in unstable, unpredictable, and uncontrollable environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-330
Number of pages14
JournalHuman Nature
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Assortative mating
  • Bet-hedging
  • Genetic similarity theory
  • Life history strategy
  • Mate value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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