The opposite sex through personal advertisement

For my study I aim to produce a similar investigation as carried out by Dunbar. He researched into the way that the different sexes attract each other through personal advertisements in American newspapers. I shall re-create this study however, using the local Macclesfield newspaper. After analysing the content I predict that my results shall suggest the same trend as Dunbar’s results: Women advertise attractiveness and youth whereas men offer wealth and financial stability. Having carried out the experiment, I found that my results did follow Dunbar’s results’ trend.

Men advertise their resources whereas women advertise looks and youth. I used a tally to record the data and then produced a Chi score in order to analyse my results. I found that Chi Squared – 12. 484. The Critical value at p – 0. 05 (one trailed) – 3. 84. This means that the difference is significant at a 5% confidence level so I can accept both my null and directional hypothesis which was that “There will be no significant difference between how men and women advertise themselves to the opposite sex. ” Introduction

Darwin’s theory of evolution suggests that humans naturally select other suitable humans to mate with in order to preserve and continue the human race. This process of “natural selection” supposedly helps minimise disadvantageous mutations and accumulate minor advantageous mutations. For example, a gene resistant to a disease will be passed on in offspring and preserved in order to minimise the chance of death and prevent offspring from mating. Natural selection is the preservation of advantageous genes that enable a species to survive in the wild, and is the equivalent to domestic breeding.

Over long periods of time, weak traits are eliminated as humans will not select mates with these characteristics and therefore these inferior genes cannot be passed through generations. David Buss studied sexual strategies across a wide range of cultures. He found that heterosexual men generally offer status, wealth and professions to attract women and exclude youth and beauty when advertising. Additional Cunningham’s research provides more evidence, which showed that the first characteristic that humans notice is a person’s appearance.

He claimed that features such as narrow cheeks, wide cheekbones and widely spread eyes are found attractive by men and features such as square jaw, small eyes and thin lips are found attractive by women. This evidence is shown through aspects of modern life and suggests that Darwin’s idea of physical attractiveness being a key factor. Furthermore, Andersson carried out a study in 1982 which supported the Darwinian theory of attracting the opposite sex. He artificially elongated bird’s tails and recorded the effect that this had on mating success within birds.

He found that the longer the tail of a bird was the more success they had within mating. Those birds who had their tails artificially reduced did significantly less well in mating. Darwin would argue that the long tail on a bird indicated to others that they had “good genes” and those with the longest tails had the best genes. He concluded that this was the reason for mating success. As the study was done on animals psychologists have to be aware that the results may not be able to be fully generalised to humans and may not be valid.



* Psychology for A2 – Collins.

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