The singles business is booming (Andrews 1988, Bennet 1989, Blodgett 1986, Brand 1988, and Mullan 1984) and represents a significant change in the way many Americans go about finding a mate.
(p.1) These events have not been overlooked by academic researchers (see Adelman and Bernard 1990, for review).
This does not imply, however, that individuals are consciously attempting to maximize their ability to produce viable offspring.
Schroeder's work extends basic questions about mate selection, as he uses singles ads to investigate the ability of evolutionary theory to explain the role of consumption in human courtship.
A summary of Schroeder's research is presented immediately below in the section labeled "Consumer Activities in Romantic Self-Presentation".
This study draws on three diverse, yet complementary research areas: self-presentation; possessions as symbols; and an evolutionary approach to mate selection and parental investment.
The evolutionary framework offers the chance to understand consumer behavior as an extension of behavior patterns established long before the age of consumer goods.
The use of products and consumer activities can play an important role in how people define, present, and symbolize themselves to others, which is a critical step in the dating and mating process.
One dating arena where the link between consumer activities and romantic self-presentation is explicit is personal advertisements, designed to attract responses from readers.
Solomon, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 532-537.
This social process is frequently referred to as the "marriage market." Due to the important role that exchange plays in the courtship process, many academics from disciplines traditionally concerned with the world of commerce have turned their attention to dating and mate selection.
In some cases, researchers have used these services as a convenient vehicle to investigate basic questions about mate selection (Curran 1972, 1973a, 1973b, Curran and Lippold 1975, Woll and Cozby 1987, and Woll and Young 1989), whereas other researchers have sought a better understanding of this phenomenon in its own right (Adelman 1987, Bolig, Stein, and Mc Kenry 1984, Cameron, Oskamp and Williams 1977, Godwin 1973, Jedlicka 1981, and Woll 1986).
This paper presents two examples of research involving formal social intermediaries, one from each of these two categories.
Talk shows such as Oprah Winfrey and Phil Donahue, as well as news shows like 20/20 (Pfifferling 1989), seem to have an endless fascination with these services.