A Loaded Question: An Analysis Of The Creation And Content Of Types
The colloquial concept of type is ubiquitous in the public, but vastly understudied by academia. Based on previous work looking at universal and idiosyncratic partner preferences in conjunction with cognitive neuroscience theories of experience-dependent prototype creation and sexual conditioning, it is proposed that a type is synonymous with a chronically-accessible ideal partner preference template. This template then serves an evolutionarily beneficial role in partner selection. Two studies were done, the first, with 112 participants, finding a significant effect of parental similarity on parental investment for both biologically related and adopted children. This is support for an evolutionary benefit to having a partner template, since selecting similar partners would maximize possible benefit from future, non-biological partners to a child. The second study, conducted with a sample of 156 participants, compared the experiential and individual differences that affected the presence and content of types. The study found having a first love, who was also a sexual partner, during adolescence was the only significant predictor of having a type. Type content, however, was most strongly affected by sociosexuality, with unrestricted sociosexuality being positively correlated with more specificity in physical and demographic partner preference criteria. These studies give ample support to the possibility that types are truly ideal partner preference templates formed during a sensitive period in adolescence and determined by sociosexuality.
Types; Ideal Partner Preference; Sociosexuality
Savin-Williams, Ritch C.
M.A., Developmental Psychology
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis