Science

It's Better to Settle for Mr. Ok than Mr. Perfect, Researchers Say

By | Feb 08, 2015 04:36 AM EST
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Mr. Perfect?

We either choose to mate with the first potentially inferior companion and risk inferior offspring, or just wait for Mr. or Ms. Perfect to come along. (Photo : iStockphoto/Jelani Memory)

Evolutionary researchers have found out that settling for "Mr. Okay" is a way better evolutionary strategy than waiting for the so-called "Mr. Perfect."

When studying the evolution of risk aversion, Michigan State University researchers discovered that it's in our nature -- traced back to the earliest humans -- to take the safe stake when chances are high, like whether or not we'll mate.

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"An individual might hold out to find the perfect mate but run the risk of coming up empty and leaving no progeny," explained co-author Chris Adami, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at Michigan State University.

He said that we either choose to mate with the first potentially inferior companion and risk inferior offspring, or just wait for Mr. or Ms. Perfect to come along. Adami added that if we choose to wait, it's likely that we risk of never mating at all.

Adami and his co-author, Arend Hintze, an MSU research associate, used a computational model to trace risk-taking behaviors through thousands of generations of evolution with digital organisms. These organisms were programmed to make bets in high-payoff gambles, which reflect the life-altering decisions that natural organisms must make, as for example choosing a mate.

On the other hand, not everyone develops similar levels of aversion to risk, researchers explained.

"We do not all evolve to be the same. Evolution creates diversity in our acceptance of risk, so you see some people who are more likely to take bigger risks than others. We see the same phenomenon in our simulations," Adami added.

The detailed study was published in the journal, Scientific Reports.


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