Mutual Mate Choice with Multiple Criteria

  • David M. Ramsey
Part of the Annals of the International Society of Dynamic Games book series (AISDG, volume 11)


This article presents a model of mutual mate search based on two trait measures. One measure describes the attractiveness of an individual and preferences are common according to this measure i.e., each female prefers highly attractive males and all females agree as to which males are attractive. Preferences are homotypic with respect to the second measure, referred to as character i.e., all individuals prefer mates of a similar character. It is assumed that attractiveness is easy to measure, but to observe the character of a prospective partner, it is necessary to court. Hence, on meeting a prospective partner an individual must decide whether to try and court the other. Courtship only occurs by mutual consent. During courtship, individuals observe the character of the prospective partner and then decide whether to mate or not. Mutual acceptance is required for mating to occur. This paper presents the model and outlines a procedure for finding a Nash equilibrium which satisfies a set of criteria based on the concept of subgame perfection. Two examples are presented and it is shown that multiple equilibria may exist.


Nash Equilibrium Mate Choice Multiple Criterion Assortative Mating Search Cost 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Alpern, S., Reyniers, D.: Strategic mating with homotypic preferences. J. Theor. Biol. 198, 71–88 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Alpern, S., Reyniers, D.: Strategic mating with common preferences. J. Theor. Biol. 237, 337–354 (2005)CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Alpern, S., Katrantzi, I.: Equilibria of two-sided matching games with common preferences. Eur. J. Oper. Res. 196, 1214–1222 (2009)MATHCrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Backwell, P.R.Y., Passmore, N.I.: Time constraints and multiple choice criteria in the sampling behavior and mate choice of the fiddler crab, Uca annulipes. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 38, 407–416 (1996)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bakker, T.C.M., Milinski, M.: Sequential mate choice and the previous male effect in sticklebacks. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 29, 205–210 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bergstrom, C.T., Real, L.A.: Towards a theory of mutual mate choice: lessons from two-sided matching. Evol. Ecol. Res. 2, 493–508 (2000)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Burdett, K., Coles, M.G.: Long-term partnership formation: marriage and employment. Econ. J. 109, 307–334 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Collins, E.J., McNamara, J.M.: The job-search problem with competition: an evolutionarily stable strategy. Adv. Appl. Prob. 25, 314–333 (1993)MATHCrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Collins, E.J., McNamara, J.M., Ramsey, D.M.: Learning rules for optimal selection in a varying environment: mate choice revisited. Behav. Ecol. 17, 799–809 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cooke, F., Davies, J.C.: Assortative mating, mate choice and repreductive fitness in Snow Geese. In: Bateson P. (ed.) Mate Choice, pp. 279–295. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1983)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Fawcett, T.W., Johnstone, R.A.: Mate choice in the face of costly competition. Behav. Ecol. ;14, 771–779 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fawcett, T.W., Johnstone, R.A.: Optimal assessment of multiple cues. Proc. R. Soc. Lond., 270, 1637–1643 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Fawcett, T.W., Bleay, C.: Previous experiences shape adaptive mate preferences. Behav. Ecol. 20, 68–78 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gale, D., Shapley, L.S.: College admissions and the stability of marriage. Am. Math. Monthly 69, 9–15 (1962)MATHCrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Härdling, R., Kokko, H.: The evolution of prudent choice. Evol. Ecol. Res. 7, 697–715 (2005)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Iwasa, Y., Pomiankowski, A.: The evolution of mate preferences for multiple sexual ornaments. Evol. 48, 853–867 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Janetos A. C.: Strategies of female mate choice: a theoretical analysis. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 7, 107–112 (1980)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Johnstone, R.A.: The tactics of mutual mate choice and competitive search. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 40, 51–59 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Kalick S. M. and Hamilton T. E.: The matching hypothesis reexamined. J. Personality Soc. Psychol. 51, 673–682 (1986)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kodric-Brown, A.: Female choice of multiple male criteria in guppies: interacting effects of dominance, colouration and courtship. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 32, 415–420 (1993)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Mazalov, V., Perrin, N., Dombrovsky, Y.: Adaptive search and information updating in sequential mate choice. Am. Nat. 148, 123–137 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    McNamara, J.M., Collins, E.J.: The job search problem as an employer-candidate game. J. Appl. Prob. 28, 815–827 (1990)CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Monaghan, P., Metcalfe, N., Houston, D.C.: Male finches selectively pair with fecund females. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 263, 1183–1186 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Parker, G.A.: Mate quality and mating decisions. In: Bateson P. (ed.) Mate Choice, pp. ;227–256. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1983)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ramsey, D.M.: A large population job search game with discrete time. Eur. J. Oper. Res. 188, 586–602 (2008)MATHCrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Real, L.A.: Search theory and mate choice. I. Models of single-sex discriminination. Am. Nat. 136, 376–404 (1990)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Real, L.A.: Search theory and mate choice. II. Mutual interaction, assortative mating, and equilibrium variation in male and female fitness. Am. Nat. 138, 901–917 (1991)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Robertson, J.G.M.: Female choice increases fertilization success in the Australian frog, Uperiola laevigata. Anim. Behav. 39, 639–645 (1990)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Ryan, M.J., Perrill, S.A., Wilczynski, W.: Auditory tuning and call frequency predict population based mating preferences in the cricket frog, Acris crepitans. Am. Nat. 139, 1370–1383 (1992)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Seymour, R.M., Sozou, P.D.: Duration of courtship as a costly signal. J. Theor. Biol. 256, 1–13 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Shimer, R., Smith, L.: Assortative matching and search. Econometrica 68, 343–370 (2000)MATHCrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Simão, J., Todd, P.M.: Modeling mate choice in monogamous mating systems with courtship. J. Adaptive Behav. 10, 113–136 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Simão, J., Todd, P.M.: Emergent patterns of mate choice in human populations. Art. Life 9, 403–417 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Smith, L.: The marriage model with search frictions. J. Pol. Econ. 114, 1124–1144 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Sozou, P.D.: Costly but worthless gifts facilitate courtship. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 272, 1877–1884 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Townsend, J.M., Wasserman, T.: The perception of sexual attractiveness: sex differences in variability. Arch. Sexual Behav. 26, 243–268 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Vahed, K.: The function of nuptial feeding in insects: a review of empirical studies. Biol. Rev. 73, 43–78 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsUniversity of LimerickLimerickIreland

Personalised recommendations