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date: 28 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews extant research and theory on culture and romantic attraction. After describing the methods that researchers frequently use to study cultural processes, the chapter covers the major topic areas in the attraction and mating literature that have received cross-cultural attention. These topics are passionate love and partner choice (e.g., arranged vs. love marriages), the system of marriage (e.g., polygyny vs. monogamy), appropriate sexual behavior (e.g., sexual attitudes, mate poaching), mate preferences (e.g., physical attractiveness, age differences), standards of attractiveness (e.g., weight, waist-to-hip ratio), the principles of attraction (e.g., familiarity, similarity), and adult attachment styles (e.g., anxious vs. avoidant). Next, the chapter reviews the two major meta-theoretical perspectives on culture—transmitted and evoked culture—highlighting the unique contributions of each meta-theory in predicting cross-cultural phenomena and the different, sometimes incompatible mechanisms implied by the two perspectives. Finally, the chapter presents the new Psychological Model of Transmitted and Evoked Cultural Change, a model that depicts a possible integration of the two meta-theories. This model draws attention to the psychological mechanisms by which humans invent, alter, evaluate, and adopt discrete units of culture and should aid researchers in developing precise explanations for cross-cultural differences that account for humans' complete evolutionary heritage.

Keywords: attraction, evoked culture, transmitted culture, sex, mating, evolution, love

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