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Data from: To help or punish in the face of unfairness: men and women prefer mutually-beneficial strategies over punishment in a sexual selection context

Citation

Ferguson, Eamonn et al. (2019), Data from: To help or punish in the face of unfairness: men and women prefer mutually-beneficial strategies over punishment in a sexual selection context, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.738pm17

Abstract

There is evidence that the evolution of cooperation is, in part, maintained through sexual selection. Supporting this, within a female choice model, men display mutually-beneficial behaviour to attract women, and women prefer men who do so. This evidence is based on a 2-choice -architecture (cooperate or not). Here we extend this to include punishment options within a 4-choice-architecture (‘punishing a transgressor’, ‘compensating a victim’, ‘both punishing and compensating’ or ‘doing-nothing’). Both compensation (a self-serving mutually-beneficial behaviour) and self-serving punishment, are associated with positive mate qualities. We test which is preferred by males and which is chosen by female undergraduates in a sexual selection context. We further explore effects of trait empathy and political ideology on these preferences. In a series of three studies using a third-party-punishment-compensation (3PPC) game we show (Study One), that romantically-primed undergraduate males, express a preference to either ‘compensate’ or ‘both compensate and punish’, and undergraduate women find males who ‘compensate’ or ‘compensate and punish’ the most attractive (Studies Two and Three). Compensating men are perceived as compassionate, fair and strong by undergraduate women (Study Three). High trait empathy (Studies One and Three) and a left-wing political ideology (Study Three) are associated with a preference for compensation. Thus, self-serving mutually-beneficial behaviour can be preferred over self-serving punishment as a signal of mate quality in undergraduates. Implications for the evolution of cooperation are discussed with respect to sexual selection.

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