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A New Heuristic in Mutual Sequential Mate Search

Saglam, Ismail (2017): A New Heuristic in Mutual Sequential Mate Search.

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In this paper, we propose a new heuristic to be used as a mate search strategy in the Todd and Miller's (1999) human mate choice model. This heuristic, which we call Take the Weighted Average with the Next Desiring Date, is a plausible search rule in terms of informational assumptions, while in terms of mating likelihood it is almost as good as the most successful, yet also unrealistic, heuristic of Todd and Miller (1999), namely the Mate Value-5 rule, which assumes that agents in the mating population completely know their own mate values before interacting with any date. The success of our heuristic stems from its extreme power to lead an average agent in the mating population to always underestimate his/her own mate value during the adolescence (learning) phase of the mating process. However, this humble heuristic does not perform well in terms of marital stability. We find that the mean within-pair difference is always higher under our heuristic (possibly due to high estimation errors made in the learning phase) than under any heuristic of Todd and Miller (1999). It seems that becoming ready to pair up with agents whose mate values are well below one's own mate value pays off well in the mating phase but also incurs an increased risk of marital dissolution.

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