Study Says Settling For Mr. Right-Now My be in Our Genes
Published On: Thu, Feb 5th, 2015

Study Says Settling For Mr. Right-Now My be in Our Genes

A new study suggests that waiting for Mr. Right (or Ms. Right) might be a complete waste of time; especially since—at least, according to evolution—we are more apt to settle for a convenient fit than a perfect one.

The study looked at the earliest human civilizations to find that the security of breeding with a compatible mate has always been more important than finding one who satisfies a checklist of traits.

Study co-author Chris Adami, PhD, comments, “Primitive humans were likely forced to bet on whether or not they could find a better mate.” The Michigan State University professor of microbiology and molecular genetics continues, “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 chose to wait, they risk never mating.”
Married couple
Adami continues, “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.”

“We found that it is really the group size, not the total population size, which matters in the evolution of risk aversion,” co-author Arend Hintze, MSU research associate.

Of course, not everyone will develop the same level of skill in averting risk. The study also took this into consideration, noting that evolution does not actually have a preference for one, particular, optimal way to deal with risk. Instead, the study showed evolution actually prefers a range of less and even, on occasion, riskier behaviors to evolve.

Adami goes on to say, “We do not evolve to be the same.” He continues, “Evolution creates a diversity in our acceptance of risk, so you see some people who are more likely to take bigger risks than others. We see the phenomenon in our simulations.”