Behavioral and Brain Sciences



Short Communication

Promiscuity in an evolved pair-bonding system: Mating within and outside the Pleistocene box


Lynn Carol Miller a1, William C. Pedersen a2 and Anila Putcha-Bhagavatula a3
a1 Annenberg School for Communication and the Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0281 lmiller@usc.edu
a2 Department of Psychology, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA 90840-0901 wpederse@csulb.edu www.csulb.edu/~wpederse
a3 Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061 aputcha@usc.edu

Abstract

Across mammals, when fathers matter, as they did for hunter-gatherers, sex-similar pair-bonding mechanisms evolve. Attachment fertility theory can explain Schmitt's and other findings as resulting from a system of mechanisms affording pair-bonding in which promiscuous seeking is part. Departures from hunter-gatherer environments (e.g., early menarche, delayed marriage) can alter dating trajectories, thereby impacting mating outside of pair-bonds.