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“They steal our women”. Outgroup members as romantic rivals

09 July 2012

PhD ceremony: Ms. L. Klavina, 14.30 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: “They steal our women”. Outgroup members as romantic rivals

Promotor(s): prof. A.P. Buunk

Faculty: Behavioural and Social Sciences


Throughout history groups have been competing over territories and resources, but also over gaining and defending of mates. Thus, being aware of out-group members as potential mating threat must have been functional in intergroup contexts. The focus of this thesis is on the reactions towards out-group members as romantic rivals. Gender is important in this exploration. As men need to provide less minimal investment (sperm and a bit of time) than women (pregnancy and delivery) to have an offspring, having more mates can increase the reproductive success especially for men. Additionally, the status benefits coming with successful intergroup competition make men more desirable as mates in preindustrial societies, and also to some extent in modern societies. Thus, for males the benefits (directly, as acquiring and defending mates and, indirectly, as increase of status) often outweigh the potential risks of intergroup conflict. The current investigation shows that out-group members seen as interested in short-term romance are especially likely to evoke jealousy. Additionally, when out-group is seen as a threat to mating opportunities, among men it leads to increased negativity towards out-group men, in the instance disease threat is also a concern.

Liga Klavina (Latvia, 1982) studied social psychology at the VU University of Amsterdam. She conducted her PhD research at the Department of Psychology, where she is now working as a teacher.


Last modified:13 March 2020 12.59 a.m.
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