Given the centrality of physical attractiveness in women’s mate value, we predicted that mating motive salience would increase the weight of physical attractiveness in women’s happiness. At an individual difference level, women with chronically high levels of mating motivation weighed physical attractiveness more heavily in their happiness than others (Study 1). When mating motivation were experimentally primed, happiness hinged more on physical attractiveness in the mating than in the control condition (Study 2). Finally, when compared across the ovulatory cycle, the importance of physical attractiveness in women’s happiness was accentuated during the high-fertility phase (Study 3). Results provide converging evidence that mating motivation increases the importance attached to and sensitivity towards physical attractiveness in appraising happiness among women. The current work suggests a novel evolutionary function of happiness, namely, to signal progress toward adaptively important goals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology