My boyfriend was telling me about the research study that he conducted for his senior thesis of undergraduate. I thought this would be a good thing to blog about. It looked at the operational sex-ratio in the environment and how it influenced romantic relationships. In other words, how would an environment with many males and fewer females (or vice versa) be perceived by a male or a female in a romantic relationship? Getting the idea from evolutionary principles and animal studies , they found that when males perceived a favorable sex-ratio (many females and few males) they were less likely to try and maintain their current relationship because sperm is cheap whereas if the ratio was unfavorable, they would put more effort into the relationship to make sure they could reproduce and pass on their genes. If a female perceived a favorable sex ratio, they would display more promiscuous behavior, increasing their chance to pick a mate that would be able to provide resources for them. If they perceived an unfavorable sex ratio, they would try and hold onto the partner they had to make sure there were resources available.
They conducted the research by recruiting couples that had been in a romantic relationship for at least 6 months. The majority age group was made up of college-aged students. They sent out a survey, which they were told not to discuss with each other about, to measure a baseline perception of themselves with their partner. Then a week later, they came into the lab where they read an article that unconsciously manipulated their perceived environment by either becoming a more favorable or less favorable sex ratio.
Research is still going on, but preliminary results were going against the evidence. One possible explanation is that the participants used may only have been in a relationship for 6 months, which may not be long enough for these perceptions to kick in. Also, the majority age group was college-aged students. The results may be different with a much larger age group.