*Ko, A., & Suh, E.M. (in press). Does Physical Attractiveness Buy Happiness? Women's Mating Motivation and Happiness, Motivation and Emtion

Given the centrality of physical attractiveness in women's mate value, we predicted that mating motive salience would increase the weight of physical attractiveness in women's happiness. At an individual difference level, women with chronically high levels of mating motivation weighed physical attractiveness more heavily in their happiness than others (Study 1). When mating motivation were experimentally primed, happiness hinged more on physical attractiveness in the mating than in the control condition (Study 2). Finally, when compared across the ovulatory cycle, the importance of physical attractiveness in women's happiness was accentuated during the high- fertility phase (Study 3). Results provide converging evidence that mating motivation increases the importance attached to and sensitivity towards physical attractiveness in appraising happiness among women. The current work suggests a novel evolutionary function of happiness, namely, to signal progress toward adaptively important goals.

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*Ko, A., & Suh, E.M. (August, 2016). Self-Perceived Mate Value and Happiness. Paper presentation at the Annual Conference of the International Society for Quality of Life Research, Seoul, South Korea.

Self-perceived mate value (SPMV) is important for calibrating choices of potential mates and of mating strategies (Kirkpatrick & Ellis, 2001), and yet there has been little investigation into how it is related to happiness. Using a sample of 105 U.S. women on M-turk, we assessed SPMV by using the Desirability scale (Durante, Li, & Haselton, 2008) and subjective well-being (SWB) with the Schedule for Positive and Negative Affect (SPANE; Diener et al., 2009) and the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS; Diener et al., 1985). Positive relationships between SPMV and SWB were found. The strength of the relation between SPMV and SWB varied as a function of SPMV for short-term or long-term relationship. The correlation between long-term SPMV and SWB, calculated across all components of SWB, was significantly stronger than that between short-term SPMV and SWB (r = .53 vs r =.13; t = 4.34, p < .001). Interestingly, the life domains considered important for happiness differed between those scoring high on short- versus long-term SPMV. The higher a woman perceived her short-term mate value, the more she thought that physical attractiveness was central for happiness (r = .24, p = .02), a domain known to have a marginal effect on SWB (Diener, Wolsic, & Fujita, 1995). On the other hand, those who thought highly of their long-term mate value were more likely to point to self-esteem, known to be a strong predictor of happiness (Campbell, 1981; Lucas, Diener, & Suh, 1996), as a key component of their happiness (r = .21, p = .04). Even though the current study was limited by cross-sectional data, present findings have implications for future studies on the components of SPMV, differences in mate value profiles, and their effects on happiness.

Shin, J., Suh., E.M., Kim, J., & *Ko, A (May, 2015). Romantic Motives Make the Relative Aspects of Happiness Salient. Pater presentation at the Convention of the Korea Social and Personality Psychological Association, Seoul, South Korea.

Happiness depends more on relative than absolute wealth. However, existing studies have not clearly identified its underlying psychological mechanism. One possibility is that this tendency stems from the fundamental human motive to attract mates. Given that successful mate-attraction involves outcompeting other competitors, it is probable that romantic motives would raise the salience of relative (vs. absolute) gains in the experience of happiness. This hypothesis is conceptually consistent with the recent finding that women during ovulating period have more interest in acquiring relative than absolute superiority. In Study 1, among females, those with higher dispositional romantic motives were significantly more likely to make daily social comparisons (r = .38, p < .001). Furthermore, when romantic motives were primed in Study 2, females (compared to the control condition) thought that they would derive greater hedonic benefits from relative monetary gains, F (1, 69) = 7.09, p = .010, η2 = .09.

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*Ko, A., Suh, E.M., & Neuberg, S.L. (2018). Q: Is happiness predicted by self-perceived mate value? A: Am I a man or a woman?

One function of happiness is to signal progress toward fitness-relevant goals. Successful romantic and sexual relationships are central to one’s reproductive fitness, leading people to seek partners of high mate value (i.e., those who possess characteristics likely to facilitate one’s own reproductive success). If happiness signals progress toward fitness-relevant goals, and people seek partners of high mate value, one’s own happiness should be sensitive to beliefs about one’s own mate value. The happiness of people seeking long-term relationships (both men and women) should be calibrated to beliefs about their long-term mate value, whereas the happiness of people seeking short-term relationships (especially men) should be calibrated to beliefs about their short-term mate value. Findings from three studies support these hypotheses. Whereas long-term self-perceived mate value significantly predicted happiness for both sexes, short-term self-perceived mate value predicted only men’s happiness. Also, consistent with hypotheses, women high in short-term mating motivation showed a positive relationship between short-term self-perceived mate value and happiness, whereas women low in short-term mating motivation showed no such relationship. This research illustrates how the evolutionary perspective can offer novel insights for understanding the psychology of happiness and well-being.

*Ko, A., Kim, E., & Suh, E.M. (January, 2017). Sex Differences in Self-Perceived Mate Value and Happiness. Poster session presented at the Annual Convention of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, San Antonio, TX

Self-perceived mate value (SPMV) is important for calibrating partner choice and mating strategies, yet there has been little investigation into how it is related to happiness. Using a sample of 140 men and 164 women, we found that there is sex difference in this relation. For both men and women, long-term SPMV was related with subjective well-being (SWB); however, sex difference appeared in the link between short-term SPMV and SWB. Higher short-term SPMV was related with happiness among men, but this association was not found among women. Our current data seem to fit with the key sex difference found in mating behavior—short-term mating opportunities are relatively more central to males’ than female’ mating strategies. These preliminary findings illustrate how evolutionary perspectives can offer novel possibilities for happiness research.

Kim, E., Song, Y., *Ko, A., & Suh, E.M. (January, 2017). The Relationship between Fetal Testosterone (Digit Ratio) and Happiness. Poster session presented at the Annual Convention of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, San Antonio, TX.

The current study investigated the relationship between happiness and fetal testosterone (FT) by using digit-ratio (DR) as a proxy. In reference to the FT and behavioral approach system (BAS) link found in past studies, we explored whether FT also predicts happiness. In Study 1, a marginally significant positive correlation between FT and happiness was found among males. To further investigate the mediating effect of BAS on happiness, we examined DR, BAS, and happiness in Study 2. Although FT and BAS was significantly linked, BAS was not a significant mediator of happiness. In Study 3, to specify which situations invoke PA among males with high levels of FT, we separated positive situations into appetitive versus merely pleasant situations. As predicted, men with high levels of FT (vs. low levels) reported more positive affect in appetitive situations compared to pleasant situations. Future work should specify the boundary conditions and mechanisms involved in the translation of hormone to a happiness experience.

 

*Ko, A., Kim, E., & Suh, E.M. (January, 2016). Women’s Hormonal Fluctuation and Happiness Judgment: Physical Attractiveness Matters More During High Fertility Phase. Poster session presented at the Annual Convention of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, San Diego, CA.

Previous research demonstrated that beautification-related desire, consumption, and behaviors among women increase during high fertility phase. It was hypothesized that social comparison of physical attractiveness (PAT) may have a greater negative effect on women’s happiness judgement during high fertility phase relative to low fertility phase. In this experimental study, participants rated highly attractive facial photographs of women and compared their own appearance to them. Afterwards, participants completed a survey questionnaire to measure their social comparison frequency and happiness. As predicted, women became highly sensitive to the frequency of PAT social comparison in their happiness judgment during the high (r = -.473, p < .01), but not low fertility phase (r = -.093, ns). This study sheds new light on social comparison pattern and its relationship to happiness judgement across the ovulatory cycle, and provides new research venues on women’s hormonal fluctuation and happiness judgments.

Kim, E., *Ko, A., & Suh, E.M. (January, 2016). Incremental Theory of Physical Attractiveness and Happiness Among Koreans. Poster presented at the annual meetings of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, San Diego, CA.

People in some part of the world find physical attractiveness (PAT) more desirable than others. The current study attempts to explain such variability through two types of implicit theories people hold regarding PAT: Incremental and entity theory. Incremental theorists believe that PAT can be changed and improved, whereas entity theorists believe that PAT is an inborn and fixed trait. In two samples, it was found that there were four times more incremental than entity theorists about PAT among Koreans (cf. more entity theorists are found in American samples, 2014). The results also showed that Koreans considered PAT to be more malleable than other attributes, such as personality, intelligence, and morality (ps < .001). Lastly, both subjective and objective (BMI) indicators of PAT predicted life satisfaction and affective well-being more strongly among incremental than entity theorists (ps < .05).

Shin, J., Suh., E.M., Kim, J., & *Ko, A (January, 2016). Romantic Motives Make the Relative Aspects of Happiness Salient. Poster presented at the annual meetings of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, San Diego, CA.

Happiness depends more on relative than absolute wealth. However, existing studies have not clearly identified its underlying psychological mechanism. One possibility is that this tendency stems from the fundamental human motive to attract mates. Given that successful mate-attraction involves outcompeting other competitors, it is probable that romantic motives would raise the salience of relative (vs. absolute) gains in the experience of happiness. This hypothesis is conceptually consistent with the recent finding that women during ovulating period have more interest in acquiring relative than absolute superiority. In Study 1, among females, those with higher dispositional romantic motives were significantly more likely to make daily social comparisons (r = .38, p < .001). Furthermore, when romantic motives were primed in Study 2, females (compared to the control condition) thought that they would derive greater hedonic benefits from relative monetary gains, F (1, 69) = 7.09, p = .010, η2 = .09.

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