Dominance and deference: Men inhibit creative displays during mate competition when their competitor is strong

  • Gambacorta D
  • Ketelaar T
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Dominance is a form of social status based on an individual's ability to inflict costs (e.g. physical aggression) onto others. Subordinate individuals defer to dominant individuals in order to avoid physical aggression. We hypothesized that relatively subordinate men defer to dominant men by inhibiting creative displays during mate competition. Male participants were led to believe they were competing for a date with an attractive female. Participants believed they were competing against either a strong or weak male. During an interview with the attractive female, participants were prompted to display their creativity to the female by telling funny jokes and interesting stories. We found that participants competing against a strong male were less likely to tell jokes and less likely to tell stories. Additionally, participants competing against a strong male told jokes that were less funny and less elaborate. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Competition
  • Creative display
  • Creativity
  • Deference
  • Dominance
  • Mating
  • Social status
  • Strength

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  • Daniel Gambacorta

  • Timothy Ketelaar

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