Lay beliefs about gender and sexual behavior: First evidence for a pervasive, robust (but seemingly unfounded) stereotype

Psychological Science (2021)

Although casual sex is increasingly socially acceptable, negative stereotypes toward women pursuing casual sex appear to remain pervasive. We find that both men and women stereotype women (but not men) who have casual sex as having low self-esteem. However, these same participants’ sexual behavior is uncorrelated with their own self-esteem.

SPSP 2020 Outstanding Research Award

What motives do people prioritize in their social lives? Examining varied sources of data from 27 societies around the world, we found that people generally view familial motives as primary in importance and mate-seeking motives as relatively low in importance. We address theoretical and empirical reasons why there has been extensive research on mate seeking and why people prioritize goals related to long-term familial bonds over mating goals.


Given the centrality of physical attractiveness in women's mate value, we predicted and found 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.

Here we use two common paradigms to show that participants have difficulty disengaging attention from angry faces relative to happy faces. This suggests that when seen, they engage attention for longer time, but they do not have the preattentive features that would allow them to pop-out. 


Under Review & In Preparation

Functionally Calibrating Life Satisfaction: The Case of Mating Motives and Self-Perceived Mate Value

Under review

We propose that life satisfaction functions to indicate progress toward active, fitness-relevant fundamental goals; the more one perceives oneself moving effectively towards such goals, the more satisfied one should be with one’s life.

Weight location moderates weight-based self-devaluation and perceived social devaluation in women

Social Psychological and Personality Science (In press)

Overweight and obese people devalue themselves because, it has been proposed, they are socially devalued. However, for women, social valuation depends not only on how much weight they carry but where on their bodies they carry it. Here, we investigate whether weight-based self-valuation and perceived social valuation also depend on body shape. 

Fundamental Social Motives:
A New Way to Think about Culture

In preparation

How does psychology vary across human societies? A fundamental social motives taxonomy provides unique information about fitness-relevant psychological variations across human societies, and offers exciting avenues for future research on meaningful and systematic cross-cultural variations