Altruism Does Not Predict Mating Success in Humans: A Direct Replication

Publication Name

Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences


Altruistic behavior is predicted to be a costly signal that benefits an individual in terms of reproductive success. This study sought to directly replicate a previous investigation that demonstrated a positive association between altruism and indices of mating success (Arnocky et al., 2017). Participants (n = 445; 329 women, 116 men; Mage = 22.9 years) completed measures of altruism, personality, self-reported mating success, lifetime sexual partners, lifetime casual sex partners, and frequency of copulation with their current sexual partner. Linear regression models demonstrated that, across models both including and excluding the covariates of age and personality, altruism was unrelated to self-reported mating success, lifetime sexual partners, casual sexual partners, and frequency of copulation. Findings remained unchanged in sensitivity analyses with nonheterosexual participants removed from the sample and with data transformed to remove skewness. Overall, the findings are inconsistent with those of the original study and provide evidence that altruism does not predict mating success in humans. Further research is needed that tests for cross-cultural variation to determine whether altruism has a role in mating success across world regions



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