Professor of Marketing
UTSA College of Business
Dr. Kristina Durante is a professor in the College of Business at the University of Texas, San Antonio. She holds a Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Texas, Austin, a master’s in social sciences from the University of Chicago, and a Bachelor of Science in mass communication from Boston University.
Durante’s research focus is the biology of decision-making, where she draws on theory in evolutionary biology and animal behavior to examine the ancestral roots of modern consumer motivations and behavior. Her research approach has yielded novel insights into consumer behavior by integrating the natural sciences with the business sciences. Her primary research line examines how hormones and mating goals systematically shift women’s desire to enhance beauty and social status through consumption. This work sheds light on how and why certain consumer products help women successfully attract mates and deter rivals.
Her work has appeared in several top tier academic journals including Psychological Science, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Consumer Research, and Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Kristina’s research has been featured in hundreds of media outlets worldwide including CNN, USA Today, BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today, BBC News, NPR, Cosmopolitan, Men’s Health, and Women’s Health Magazine.
Fertile, Flirty, and Fierce: Hidden influences on women’s courtship, competition, and consumer choice
Unlike men, women’s sexual behavior can result in reproduction only near ovulation – a time each month when estrogen levels are particularly high. Women’s behavior should therefore shift near ovulation in ways that optimize reproductive outcomes. A large body of evidence has emerged in support of this prediction and has focused primarily on how ovulation shifts women’s romantic preferences. However, for any social animal, enhancing reproductive outcomes also involves successfully out competing same-sex individuals for status and access to mates.
My talk will focus on the idea that ovulation should amplify women’s desire to compete with other women. I call this idea the ovulatory competition hypothesis. I will begin with a theoretical overview of ovulation and female competition. I will discuss findings from my research on how the hormones associated with ovulation influence women’s desire to out compete rivals and the various competitive tactics that shift near ovulation. In addition, I will highlight new avenues of this research program and include a discussion of why research into how fertility affects women’s behavior is important: Namely, because it can provide a window through which we can better understand the psychology behind women’s attitudes, preferences, and motivations.