Punishment of hypothetical polygamous marriages.

Parental investment theory suggests that differential reproductive investment has led the sexes to different mating strategies. In humans, men have the lesser investment and therefore tend to desire greater numbers of mates relative to women. One result of this could be that men would be more tolerant of polygamous marriages. The present study examined this hypothesis. Participants read 4 hypothetical vignettes describing individuals who were convicted of polygamy. The vignettes varied in the sex of the perpetrator and whether the marriage resulted in children or not. Participants were asked to suggest a sentence duration and to assess the severity of that sentence, as well as the severity of the transgression to the spouses, the institution of marriage, and in general. Participants also completed several scales relevant to reproduction. The results indicated that women assigned greater sentence durations and perceived the transgressions toward the institution of marriage and in general as more severe than men. In addition, the presence of children increased the troublesomeness of the polygamy. Finally, life history and the troublesomeness of the polygamy were positively correlated, but only in men. This is consistent with the male strategy of dads with slow life histories and cads with fast life histories. The lack of correlation in women may be an indication of smaller variation in reproduction relative to men, regardless of life history. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)