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Religiosity and Dating

John on November 17, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Probably not as significant as the study’s authors are hoping:

Rivals on the dating scene could make one feel closer to God, according to new research that suggests one’s religiousness may be more closely related to mating strategies than previously known.

In experiments with 269 college students, researchers found that both men and women apparently felt more religious when they saw attractive potential competitors.


“Our guess at this point is that seeing attractive members of one’s sex makes it less likely that you will be able to play a fast and loose mating strategy, because the competition is likely to be too tough,” Li said.

As such, the researchers conjecture that people might become more religious when rivals are present since religion often involves rules that police sex. Alternatively, people might say they are more religious to be more attractive, maybe exploiting a different niche to find mates.

Personally, I’d be willing to lay money on the alternative explanation, i.e. given a situation where other men or women one is competing with are very attractive, an individual might seek to emphasize another advantage. In this case, that advantage is spiritual wholesomeness. If you can’t win on external beauty than lay claim to an extra dose of internal beauty.

You’d probably be able to test the theory by doing a counter-experiment where really attractive women or men are shown pictures of less attractive competitors. My guess, they don’t feel motivated to become more spiritual because they don’t need to compensate for anything.

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Category: Marriage & Family |

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