Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Author's Response
Gangestad, S.W. & Simpson, J.A.: Evolution and human mating

Trade-offs, the allocation of reproductive effort, and the evolutionary psychology of human mating

Steven W. Gangestad a1 and Jeffry A. Simpson a2
a1 Department of Psychology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131
a2 Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843


This response reinforces several major themes in our target article: (a) the importance of sex-specific, within-sex variation in mating tactics; (b) the relevance of optimality thinking to understanding that variation; (c) the significance of special design for reconstructing evolutionary history; (d) the replicated findings that women's mating preferences vary across their menstrual cycle in ways revealing special design; and (e) the importance of applying market phenomena to understand the complex dynamics of mating. We also elaborate on three points: (1) Men who have indicators of genetic fitness may provide more direct benefits when female demand for extra-pair and short-term sex is very low; (2) both men and women track ecological cues to make mating decisions; and (3) more research on female orgasm is needed.