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Female intrasexual competition and reputational effects on attractiveness among the Tsimane of Bolivia

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Rucas, S.L., M. Gurven, Hillard Kaplan, J. Winking, S. Gangestad, and M. Crespo. 2006. "Female intrasexual competition and reputational effects on attractiveness among the Tsimane of Bolivia." Evolution and Human Behavior, 27(1): 40-52.

This study, conducted among Tsimane women of Bolivia, investigates the relationship between reputational reports and ratings of individual attractiveness. Reputations are, at least in part, created and maintained through linguistic avenues between group members and are thus open to manipulation by others. Taking this into account, we hypothesized that individuals might have the ability to influence the attractiveness of others indirectly by influencing their reputations. The data collected among Tsimane women show that reporting positive or negative information about other group members significantly predicts the rankings of attractiveness assigned to those group members. We found that characteristics surrounding motherhood, trustworthiness, housekeeping abilities, social intelligence, and wealth or status to be the most influential reputational reports on attractiveness. We found that reports of promiscuity had no significant affect on perceived attractiveness. Overall, the results demonstrate that attractiveness ratings reflected a significant reputational component.

DOI:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2005.07.001 (Full Text)

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