Evolutionary researchers have sided with your aunt who wanted to fix you up with someone or anyone at the first chance she got.
With Valentine’s day approaching fast, everyone who has yet to experience love or is in love and yet to tie the knot is wondering the same thing: Should I settle for the person who is with me or should I wait for Mr. Right or Ms. Perfect. People who are yet to get hitched often consider if they should wait a little longer for the perfect match to walk into their lives.
Well, science or more particularly evolutionary researchers at Michigan State University say the strategy is wrong, and you should be looking for Mr. or Ms. OK. When studying the evolution of risk aversion, researchers found that it is in our nature – traced back to the earliest humans – to take the safe bet when stakes are high, such as whether or not we will mate.
Chris Adami, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, and Arend Hintze, a research associate at MSU, have determined that, really, you’re better off settling at the earliest than playing the waiting game.
“Primitive humans were likely forced to bet on whether or not they could find a better mate. They could either choose to mate with the first, potentially inferior, companion and risk inferior offspring, or they could wait for Mr. or Ms. Perfect to come around. If they choose to wait, they risk never mating.”
To prove their hypothesis that advised it is better to settle now than wait, Adami and his co-author Arend Hintze, an MSU research associate, used a computational model to trace risk-taking behaviors through thousands of generations of evolution with digital organisms. These organisms were programmed to make bets in high-payoff gambles, which reflect the life-altering decisions that natural organisms must make. One of the most basic decisions they had to take was choosing a mate.
The duo realized that though it might pay off in the long run to stay put and wait for the right guy or gal, it made a lot more sense from an evolutionary standpoint to mate now than risk forgoing progeny in the hopes of meeting the ideal partner.
“An individual might hold out to find the perfect mate but run the risk of coming up empty and leaving no progeny. Settling early for the sure bet, gives you an evolutionary advantage, if living in a small group.”
The study indicated that in a group of less 150, individuals tended to be far more risk averse than if they were in a larger group. In other words, if you have a small community, chances are high, and so are the recommendations to find a mate at the soonest and latch on.
[Image Credit | Compassion Counselling]