Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Study: Bad boys really do bamboozle women.

From the Toronto Star:
Hey guys, if you’re on the prowl, you can drop the nice guy act.

By a wide margin, women really do find bad boys more attractive than their kind and happy counterparts, a new University of British Columbia study says.

“That’s very much what we found,” says UBC psychologist Jessica Tracy, the lead study author.

The study, which involved about 1,000 people split evenly between men and women, had subjects view pictures of opposite sex individuals displaying expressions of pride, shame, happiness or a neutral demeanour.

The participants were then asked to rate their attractiveness on a scale of one to nine.

For women, Tracy says, a proud physical expression made males most alluring. But close behind, those men who had sagging shouldered shame written large on their faces were given surprisingly high attractiveness ratings.

“What we didn’t expect was that women would find happy men really, really unattractive,” says Tracy. “And that’s exactly what we found. It was the least attractive thing men could show.”

The study was released Tuesday by the American Psychological Association journal Emotion.

While a proud man’s attractiveness to women may be easily explained on an evolutionary level, the allure of the bad boy is more elusive, says Tracy, who specializes in physical expressions of emotion.

“Pride conveys high status, strength, power (and) these are all pretty good things to have in a mate,” she says.

Bad boys, depicted in the photo arrays with “brooding” expressions, may well elicit a desire in women to both forgive the guy and to fix him up, Tracy says.

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