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    Choosing a mate is perhaps the most important decision a sexually reproducing organism makes in its lifetime. And yet, psychologists lack a precise description of human mate choice, despite sustained attention from several theoretical perspectives. Here, I argue this limited progress owes to the complexity of mate choice and describe a new modeling approach, called "couple simulation," designed to compare models of mate choice by challenging them to reproduce real couples within simulated mating markets. I present proof-of-concept simulations that demonstrate couple simulation can identify a population's true model of mate choice. Furthermore, I apply couple simulation to two samples of real couples and find that the method (a) successfully reconstructs real-world couples, (b) discriminates between models of mate choice, and (c) predicts a wide range of dimensions of relationship quality. Collectively, these results provide evidence that couple simulation offers a framework useful for evaluating theories of human mate choice.


    Daniel Conroy-Beam. Couple Simulation: A Novel Approach for Evaluating Models of Human Mate Choice. Personality and social psychology review : an official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc. 2021 Jan 07:1088868320971258

    PMID: 33412970

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