The evolutionary armistice: Attachment bonds moderate the function of ovulatory cycle adaptations

Paul W. Eastwick, Eli J. Finkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Natural selection modified the attachment-behavioral system to bond adult mating partners in early members of the genus Homo, thus facilitating increased investment, especially paternal investment, in offspring. Previously existing adaptations that fostered intersexual conflict (e.g., ovulatory adaptations) could have threatened attachment bonds; therefore, the attachment-behavioral system might have evolved the ability to mute or refocus such adaptations for the purpose of strengthening the bond. Two studies offer support for this prediction. Women who were strongly attached to their romantic partner revealed positive associations of fertility with reports of romantic physical intimacy, but these associations were negative among unbonded women. This moderational effect of attachment bond strength was robust beyond dispositional attachment anxiety and avoidance, relationship satisfaction, relationship commitment, and partner physical attractiveness, none of which revealed robust moderational effects. Findings highlight how researchers can use the timeline of hominid evolution (i.e., phylogeny) as a tool to complement functional, adaptationist hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-184
Number of pages11
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume38
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2012

Keywords

  • adult attachment
  • evolution
  • ovulatory cycle
  • romantic relationships
  • sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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