Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Risk of Conception

  • Talia ShiraziEmail author
  • David Puts
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1884-1



The day-specific probability that a single act of intercourse will result in conception.


Conception risk refers to the probability that a single act of unprotected coitus will result in conception. A woman’s conception risk varies as a function of life’s historical, contextual, and cyclical factors, all of which are accompanied by different hormonal milieus that modulate conception risk (Motta-Mena and Puts 2017). Researchers have drawn on evolutionary theory to posit that women’s mating psychology may change in relation to conception risk in adaptive ways. Further, women may adjust their attitudes and behaviors toward men and other women – and be perceived differently by other men and women – as a function of conception risk. Here, we briefly review work suggesting that mating psychology, intrasexual competition, and perceptions by men and other women vary with conception risk.

Although conception risk...

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  1. Gangestad, S. W., Haselton, M. G., Welling, L. L. M., Gildersleeve, K., Pillsworth, E. G., Burriss, R. P., … Puts, D. A. (2016). How valid are assessments of conception probability in ovulatory cycle research? Evaluations, recommendations, and theoretical implications. Evolution and Human Behavior, 37(2), 85–96.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2015.09.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Gary L Brase
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA