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Status and mating success amongst visual artists

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Daniel Nettle


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Geoffrey Miller has hypothesized that producing artwork functions as a mating display. Here we investigate the relationship between mating success and artistic success in a sample of 236 visual artists. Initially, we derived a measure of artistic success that covered a broad range of artistic behaviors and beliefs. As predicted by Miller's evolutionary theory, more successful male artists had more sexual partners than less successful artists but this did not hold for female artists. Also, male artists with greater artistic success had a mating strategy based on longer term relationships. Overall the results provide partial support for the sexual selection hypothesis for the function of visual art.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Clegg H, Nettle D, Miell D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Frontiers in Psychology

Year: 2011

Volume: 2

Print publication date: 31/10/2011

ISSN (electronic): 1664-1078

Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation


DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00310


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