Freitag, 30. März 2018

Why Are So Many Muses Women?


Scott Barry Kaufman:

>Many readers are probably wondering (rightly so) why there seems to be such a focus here on men being inspired by women. Indeed, Francine Prose notes in her book that all of the Muses in history and mythology are female. (In Greek mythology, nine godly muses --all women-- travelled the land, inspiring the creativity of mortal artists and scientists). Certainly, in the words of Prose, "there is no biological reason why a man can't provide the elements of inspiration." This is a very good point, and I'm sure there have been many real life cases of Muses who are men (and cases of men inspiring men and women inspiring women).

But why in both studies I reported (in this post and the last one) did the mating motive have a more powerful effect on men than women? Why are women in these studies so unaffected by the mating motive? There are many potential reasons for this ..., but Griskevicius's study offers some insight into this puzzle.

To dig deeper into this question, the researchers introduced additional conditions, varying the level of commitment of the potential romantic partner in the imagined romantic scenarios. They found that while men increased their creativity in every single condition, only women increased their creative output in one specific condition -- after imagining wanting to attract a clearly trustworthy and committed long-term mate. Women did not show a creative increase when primed to think about attracting a shorter-term mate or a potential long-term mate who had yet to prove his worth as good relationship material.

These results suggest that women do indeed respond to the mating motive, but just require a bit more assurance that the partner is a good partner before they invest in creativity. The researchers describe these findings within the context of differential parental investment. When pursuing a short-term mating strategy, women tend to be more guarded than men since they have a lot more at stake reproductively speaking (women risk getting pregnant, whereas men don't have this risk). But when pursuing a long-term mate, both men and women are a lot more similar than different in their mating goals and preferences -- both expect to invest significantly in the offspring and therefore want a partner that shows signs of dependability. According to the researchers, "In this light, it makes some sense that women require assurance that a prospective mate is really going to invest in offspring before investing the energy in creative displays." So according to this logic, there are more female Muses than male Muses simply because it is easier and faster to turn on a male's mating motive.<

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