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date: 22 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines how the ovulatory cycle affects the tactics women use to compete with one another. As fertility increases near ovulation, women’s mating psychology changes, with implications for intersexual courtship (i.e., attracting opposite-sex mates) and intrasexual competition (i.e., outshining same-sex rivals) which is the primary focus of this chapter. The ovulatory competition hypothesis refers to the effect of fertility on women’s competition, manifested mainly in the domains of physical attractiveness and relative status. Previous research shows that women’s tendency to enhance their appearance near ovulation is driven not by a desire to impress men, but by a motivation to outcompete other women, when those women are perceived as potential rivals. Moreover, the effect of fertility on women’s consumption and financial decision making stems from a desire to surpass other women in status and resources. Implications for women’s materialism, consumption of luxury items, and financial decision making are discussed.

Keywords: intrasexual competition, fertility, menstrual cycle, hormones, ovulatory competition hypothesis, relative status, physical attractiveness, consumer behavior, financial decision making

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