Ecological Constraints on Mating Tactics

Aurelio José Figueredo, Barbara H. Brumbach, Daniel N. Jones, Jon A. Sefcek, Geneva Vásquez, W. Jake Jacobs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

13 Scopus citations


Mating tactics do not exist in a vacuum. Rather, they develop within specific environmental contexts. Such contextual influences can be conceptualized as a series of concentric circles around the individual, as in Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological model of behavioral development, that are hierarchically nested within each other like a set of Russian dolls. Bronfenbrenner placed behavioral development within an ecological perspective by combining principles from sociology and developmental psychology. Within Bronfenbrenner’s theoretical framework, relationships between individuals and their environments are viewed as mutually shaping, in that they systematically interact with one another. He proposed four interlocking systems that purportedly shape early individual development: (1) the micro-system, which includes the individual’s interactions with family and community (e.g., home, neighborhood); (2) the meso-system, which includes interrelationships among the various social settings within which the individual must function (e.g., schools, day-care centers); (3) the exo-system, which includes external forces upon which the individual has no direct control but which indirectly influence the individual (e.g., school boards, social service agencies, and planning commissions); and (4) the macrosystem, which includes forces at the sociocultural level that provide the broad ideological and organizational patterns within which the lower levels of interaction play out. Although the Bronfenbrenner model was designed for understanding the forces governing child development, we may use a similar model to contextualize the adaptive significance of mating tactics within an ecological framework. Such ecological forces may be expected to inform and constrain the development of specific mating tactics. We propose that any evolutionarily meaningful conceptualization of Mating Intelligence must encompass an interactive engagement of the individual with those critical environmental contingencies. Mating Intelligence is partly intelligence about the socio-ecological context of mating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMating Intelligence
Subtitle of host publicationSex, Relationships, and the Mind’s Reproductive System
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9781136678875
ISBN (Print)9780203809952
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • General Social Sciences


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