A study by British scientists Daniel Farrelli, Paul Clemson and Melissa Guthrie found that women are more likely to choose kind, caring men than “bad guys.”
The study investigated the attractiveness of male altruists as partners for long-term and short-term relationships. The scientists also evaluated the extent to which the physical attractiveness of men influenced the choice of women.
The researchers presented the participants with a pair of photographs of men with high and low degrees of physical attractiveness, as well as various scenarios describing situations in which these men may display altruism or selfishness.
Scenario A: Person C and Person T both have a picnic by the fast flowing river. They see the child being carried away by the current along the river. The woman shouts: “Help! Save my child! “
Scenario B: Person E and Person F walk through a busy city and spot a homeless man sitting outside a cafe.
The participants then read the behaviors of each of the two men.
Person T hears his mother screaming and decides to jump into the turbulent river to try to rescue the child.
Person E decides to stop by a cafe to buy a sandwich and a cup of tea for the homeless person outside.
Person C sees the speed of the flow and decides not to try to help the child.
Person F pretends to be using a cell phone and walks past a homeless person.
Thus, the participants were presented with men with high physical attractiveness and men with low physical attractiveness, acting altruistically or selfishly. They were also presented with photographs of men, more and less attractive with neutral scenarios. For example, both men go shopping in the store.
The women were asked to rate how attractive (unattractive or highly attractive) each of the men is as a partner in a long-term or short-term relationship.
In general, women found altruistic men more attractive than selfish men. This indicates the importance of altruism when choosing a mate. At the same time, the results showed that altruistic men are more preferable for serious relationships, and selfish ones for short-term ones.
For long-term relationships, women preferred men of low attractiveness if they were described as altruistic. In addition, for serious relationships, more altruistic and less physically attractive men were more desirable than men with low altruism but high physical attractiveness. Therefore, altruism is seen as a more important criterion for choosing a partner than physical attractiveness for a long-term relationship.
Scientists may need further research to study how men with different levels of attractiveness can display altruism in order to have serious relationships.
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