Self-esteem tracks mate value

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionarypeer-review


Sociometer theory (Leary & Baumeister, 2000) proposes that self-esteem is anevolved adaptation which functions to monitor the quality and quantity of individuals'interpersonal relationships, together with their perceived desirability as a relationalpartner. Kirkpatrick and Ellis (2004) extended this theory, arguing that since different types of relationships present different adaptive challenges, there may be multiple sociometers, each functioning to monitor individuals' status and desirability in a specific domain. Given that successfully reproducing is a primary adaptive challenge in humans, it is likely that the sociometer system, and thus self-esteem, should be especially sensitive to assessments of individuals' sexual or romantic desirability, and accordingly, Kirkpatrick and Ellis (2004) suggest that there are specific long and short-term mating sociometers. This perspective predicts that individuals' self esteem should reflect both their romantic relational status, and their perceived eligibility as a long or short term partner, which is termed their mate value.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science
EditorsTodd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9783319196503, 9783319169996
ISBN (Print)9783319196497 , 9783319196510
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2021


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