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Musical/artistic ability and sexual selection

Faculty of Natural Sciences

About the Project

Applications are invited for a self-funded PhD project that aims to investigate the role of musical/artistic ability on mate preferences. Musical/artistic ability has long been theorised to be important for sexual selection. Indeed, in a data-driven analysis of dating profiles descriptions, we found that musical/artistic ability was desirable in both men and women (Lee et al., 2019). Prominent theories have suggested that musical/artistic ability is associated with “good-genes” (e.g., Miller, 2000), though it is equally as likely that this ability is preferred for more direct benefits. For example, musical ability may be an honest signal for traits related to resource acquisition, such as determination. These possibilities are yet to be disentangled. This project would seek to investigate the underlying mechanism that leads to musical/artistic ability to be desirable in a partner. For more information, please contact me via email, or visit my University staff page for other related research projects (

Application Requirements:
Eligible applicants should –
• Hold a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Biology, or a related field. A relevant MSc qualification is desirable.

Funding Notes

The PhD project is self-funded. Tuition fees are available at:
View Website


Lee, A. J., Jones, B. C., & DeBruine, L. M. (2019). Investigating the association between mating-relevant self-concepts and mate preferences through a data-driven analysis of online personal descriptions. Evolution and Human Behavior, 40(3), 325-335.
Miller, G. (2000). The Mating Mind. New York: Doubleday.

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