Induced Mate Abundance Increases Women’s Expectations for Engagement Ring Size and Cost

  • Ashley Locke
  • Jessica Desrochers
  • Steven ArnockyEmail author
Research Article


Research on some non-human species suggests that an abundance of reproductively viable males relative to females can increase female choosiness and preferences for longer-term mating and resource investment by males. Yet little research has explored the potential influence of mate availability upon women’s preferences for signals of men’s commitment and resource provisioning. Using an experimental mate availability priming paradigm, the present study examined whether women (N = 205) primed with either mate scarcity or abundance would differ in their expectations for engagement ring size and cost. Results demonstrated that women who were primed with the belief that good-quality mates are abundant in the population reported expecting a statistically-significantly larger and more expensive engagement ring relative to women primed with mate scarcity. Results suggest that women flexibly attune their expectations for signals of men’s investment based, in part, upon their perception of the availability of viable mates.


Priming Sex ratio Engagement rings Social psychology Evolutionary psychology Mating behavior 


Funding Information

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Development Grant (file # DDG-2017-00013) awarded to S. Arnocky.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashley Locke
    • 1
  • Jessica Desrochers
    • 1
  • Steven Arnocky
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Nipissing UniversityNorth BayCanada

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