Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Visiting Speaker: Maryanne L. Fisher, Saint Mary’s University, Canada

Date and time: Monday, October 27, 5:00pm, room VG02 (Vine Building)

Title: Recent Developments in Women's Competition for Mates

There has been an explosion of research pertaining to women’s intrasexual competition for mates within the past decade. This research spans the areas of eating disorders, fertility, risk-taking, self-perceptions of mate value, fashion preferences, and adolescent friendships, among others. I will briefly review these developments, and then present a series of recent studies that collectively reveal women’s perceptions of potential rivals is generally negative and encompasses numerous characteristics. My findings indicate that women do not necessarily have to interact with rivals for these results to occur; women appear to engage in vicarious competition by witnessing hypothetical competitive situations. I will also present data from a new study, whereby we found evidence of brain activation that indicates women may be anticipating a loss or win when viewing young, attractive female faces versus older, unattractive female faces. I will close with a discussion of potential future research directions.

Maryanne L. Fisher, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada. She has recently edited Evolution’s Empress: Darwinian Perspectives on the Nature of Women (Oxford, 2013) and the Handbook of Women and Competition (Oxford, forthcoming). Her primary areas of inquiry are sex differences in competition and aggression, within-sex variance in mating strategies, and integrating feminist frameworks with evolutionary psychological perspectives. For more information please see Maryanne's website:

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