Effects of Kavadi ritual on mate attractiveness

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MAŇO Peter

Year of publication 2019
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description From the standpoint of human mate choice, male traits that can be deemed as behav- ioral, sexually selected signals include physical prowess, risk-taking, or bold behavior. Collective rituals involving intense physical effort and suffering may provide a unique arena for displaying behaviors associated with these traits. Consequently, the intensity of participation in such rituals might serve as a cue in mate selection, reflecting the individual’s non-obvious qualities. However, there is a paucity of research on the asso- ciation between the cost of ritual participation and the perceived attractiveness of an individual. To examine the causal relations between ritual displays and partner choice, we conducted an experimental study in the context of the Kavadi ritual performed by Mauritian Tamils. In this experiment, we asked female Tamil participants to rank male Facebook profiles according to their long- and short-term partner preferences. To in- vestigate the effects of ritual performance, we manipulated Facebook profiles such as to signal different ritual costs. Preliminary results suggest that Facebook profiles signal- ing high ritual investments and extravagant displays are indeed considered attractive in potential partners; however, the results of the full analysis that will be presented during the talk still have to lend support to this conclusion.
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