Parental mate choice manipulation tactics: Exploring prevalence, sex and personality effects

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parents and children are genetically related but not genetically identical, which means that their genetic interests overlap but also diverge. In the area of mating, this translates into children making mate choices that are not in the best interest of their parents. Parents may then resort to manipulation in order to influence their children's mating decisions in a way that best promotes the former's interests. This paper attempts to identify the structure of manipulation tactics that parents employ on their daughters and sons, as well as on their daughters' and sons' mates, and also to estimate their prevalence. On the basis of the structure of the derived tactics, four hypotheses are tested: Mothers are more willing than fathers to use manipulation tactics; parents are willing to use more manipulation on their daughters than on their sons; the personality of parents predicts the use of tactics on their children and on their children's mates; and the personality of children and of children's mates predicts the use of tactics on them. Evidence from two independent studies provides support for the first three hypotheses, but mixed support for the fourth hypothesis. The implications of these findings are further discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)588-620
Number of pages33
JournalEvolutionary Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Big five
  • Manipulation
  • Manipulation tactics
  • Parental choice
  • Sex differences


Dive into the research topics of 'Parental mate choice manipulation tactics: Exploring prevalence, sex and personality effects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this