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Science of Sex- Matching Phenomenon

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    - [Narrator] Decide when
    to pair up and with whom
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    is a riddle that evolutionary
    psychologist Douglas Kenrick
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    has tried to solve for decades.
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    - If we all just went for good genes,
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    everyone would be unhappy
    if the guys didn't end up
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    you know with Jennifer Lopez
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    or some other fashion model,
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    they would just stop then.
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    And the women would stop if
    they couldn't get Brad Pitt
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    or some extremely handsome guy.
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    In real life, people have to
    match up with one another.
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    (intense music)
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    - [Narrator] How does this
    matching up process work?
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    To find out, Dr. Kenrick gathered 10 men
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    and 10 women from a fairly average range
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    of physical attractiveness
    and prepared to perform
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    a few experiments in
    human social dynamics.
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    First he stripped away as
    many differences as possible
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    between the guinea pigs by dressing them
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    in identical and sexually neutral outfits.
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    - Okay now you're gonna play
    a sort of a mating game.
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    You all have a number as you can see.
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    You can't see your own number,
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    but you can see the
    other peoples' numbers.
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    Offer your hands to someone,
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    and if they accept it,
    then you've paired up
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    and you walk back to the back.
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    If the person does not accept your offer,
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    then you'd move on and
    offer it to someone else.
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    Again the task being to try
    to get the highest number
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    that you can
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    and realizing that you have
    a number on your own head
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    that they are responding to as well.
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    (mysterious music)
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    - [Narrator] The numbers, drawn at random,
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    are meant to represent desirability.
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    One being least and 10 being most.
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    In the real world,
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    where most of us don't know exactly
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    how attractive we are,
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    we tend to aim high, trying to snare a 10.
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    Then gradually we work
    our way down to someone
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    who will accept us.
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    - Some of the people are trying
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    and not getting paired.
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    The two people who are
    fives have paired up
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    with one another.
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    It wasn't like the 10s perfectly matched
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    and the ones perfectly matched,
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    but you did get a correlation.
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    The people with the high numbers
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    were able to hold back
    a little bit longer,
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    and they got more offers.
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    The people with the low
    numbers didn't get any offers.
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    And that's sort of what
    happens in a real mating pool.
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    - [Narrator] The experiment opens a window
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    into the mind of an
    adolescent who is not yet
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    fully aware of how
    attractive he or she is.
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    - Let's imagine teenagers
    in a high school.
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    You've got a guy and a girl
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    who are both 10s.
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    Well what's gonna happen to
    them is they're gonna get
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    a lot of offers from the opposite sex,
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    and they're eventually
    gonna have some sense
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    that they have lots of more opportunities.
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    If you're a five or a six,
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    as most people are,
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    they'll let you know.
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    You'll get feedback basically.
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    - [Narrator] This is something
    we all have to learn,
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    and it can be a painful process.
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    (mysterious music)
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    To glimpse a sped-up version
    of this learning curve,
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    Dr. Kenrick put a microphone on the woman
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    who was ranked number three
    and asked her to narrate
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    her mate selection strategy.
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    - I guess everyone's
    gonna start off going to
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    the number 10 guy.
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    Three, one, four, 10, oh 10 is taken now.
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    Nobody will make eye contact with me.
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    I'm not really used to that.
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    I like that one, yeah.
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    But his number's too low, I can do better.
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    Let's see, one, no, seven.
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    I could, oh he's being paired off.
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    I have a feeling I have a very low number
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    because no one's coming
    over to me at all right now.
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    Come on, two, no,
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    I can do better than that.
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    We're running out of numbers.
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    One, eight,
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    I guess this is all that's left.
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    Okay I'm stuck with two.
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    (mysterious music)
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    - [Narrator] After using random numbers,
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    Dr. Kenrick wanted to see
    how things would turn out
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    if he let true physical attractiveness
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    drive mate selection.
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    When the volunteers first arrive,
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    before the men and women met face-to-face,
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    Kenrick had them rate each
    others' physical appearance
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    on a scale of one to 10.
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    He pooled the numbers for each person
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    and came up with an attractiveness rating.
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    Now it's time for the test subjects to try
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    and reel in the most physically
    attractive person they can.
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    (drum music)
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    - We are going to change
    the rules a little bit.
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    And we're gonna begin by asking the ladies
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    to take your head stockings off.
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    Okay now if the guys would all remove
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    their head coverings.
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    Let your own preferences now
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    you know have their way,
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    and again, keeping in mind the last game,
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    try to get the person who you regard
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    as the highest attractiveness
    in your opinion.
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    (mysterious music)
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    - [Narrator] Just as Kenrick expected,
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    each person found a partner
    within a point or so
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    of themselves.
Title:
Science of Sex- Matching Phenomenon
Video Language:
English
Duration:
06:21

English subtitles

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