Affection, Deception, and Evolution: Deceptive Affectionate Messages as Mate Retention Behaviors

Evol Psychol. 2018 Jan-Mar;16(1):1474704917753857. doi: 10.1177/1474704917753857.


This study explored how partner mate value (PMV) and factors indicative of the relational climate (i.e., commitment and satisfaction) might affect individuals' tendency to use deceptive affectionate messages (DAMs). Participants ( N = 203) responded to a survey including measures regarding these variables. Contrary to predictions, PMV and the tendency to engage in DAMs were significantly and negatively associated with one another. Analyses further indicated that commitment significantly moderated the negative association between PMV and DAMs. The present study also provided evidence that when commitment to the relationship is low, satisfaction mediates the negative association between PMV and DAMs.

Keywords: affection; commitment; communication; deception; satisfaction.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biological Evolution
  • Communication
  • Deception*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Young Adult