Do nice guys finish last while handsome bad boys get all the girls? Not according to science!
A study by the Institute of Health and Society at the University of Worcester has found that when a woman is looking for a fling, she’s more likely to be drawn towards narcissistic or selfish behaviours. But when she has long term love, commitment and procreation on her mind, she’s looking for something else altogether.
Disproving the stereotype that women want to transform bad boys into loving, caring husband material, the research shows that, on the contrary, they’re looking for men who are already naturally altruistic and generous.
Altruism – the term for when someone does something that helps out another person without any benefit to themselves – has always been thought to play no role in evolution.
“I have been interested in why altruism or cooperation occurs in our species, seeing as it is something that traditional views of evolution… would suggest shouldn't occur [because there is no benefit to the passing on of genes],” study lead author Daniel Farrelly told Live Science. But it turns out we’ve had it wrong.
When shown a series of pictures depicting men of varying degrees of handsomeness, some with accompanying captions which had them performing caring acts such as rescuing a child from a lake, others whose labels revealed they refuse to give money to homeless people, those who were demonstrating altruistic behaviours scored higher for “being attractive”.
“The researchers found that being selfless gave men a better chance with a woman if she was looking for something long term. The findings support previous studies that say altruism is desirable to women, because it means an individual is more likely to be supportive and because altruistic men are more likely to be better fathers,” said Live Science.
“In contrast, the new study found that selfish men were seen as more desirable among women who were looking for a fling.”
The next stage in the study is to flip the research and observe how men score women for their beauty and attractiveness. Will they score the caring future mother as lovelier than the bad girl? Watch this space!