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Sociobiology of Communicationan interdisciplinary perspective$
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Patrizia d'Ettorre and David P. Hughes

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199216840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216840.001.0001

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Communication of mate quality in humans

Communication of mate quality in humans

(p.157) CHAPTER 9 Communication of mate quality in humans
Sociobiology of Communication

S. Craig Roberts

Oxford University Press

In most human societies, individuals compare between numerous potential mates. Recent research on biological determinants of mate preferences explores the idea that attractive physical characteristics might be cues of underlying good genes. The first half of this chapter summarises this work on physical cues of mate quality, including facial, bodily, vocal and olfactory traits. The second half of the chapter speculates on how broad principles that arise out of this research might be directly transposed to understand potential good-gene effects on behaviour and ‘body language’. Reliability of behavioural cues betraying mate quality is likely to determine how far biological interpretations on behaviour can be applied, and an outline for how researchers might tackle this issue is proposed.

Keywords:   mate choice, mate quality, human communication, olfaction, body language

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