Someone paid good money to fund this study?
Peter M. Todd, Ph.D. and his research team from the cognitive science program at Indiana University, Bloomington, reported this earth-shattering finding in a recent edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
They’ve come to this monumental conclusion with fewer than four dozen subjects. Their study involved 26 men and 20 women. I guess since we could have told them this information without a study, it doesn’t really matter how many subjects there were.
And they were German. The study was done in Munich. And the subjects were reasonably young. Participants ranged in age from 26 to early 40’s. Not that if they included older daters the results would have changed appreciably.
Here’s how this experiment was conducted. All 46 subjects took part in speed dating — short interactions of three to seven minutes in which people chat. When the allotted time was up, they moved on to meet another dater. Afterward, participants noted from a list the people they’d like to meet again. Dr. Todd said, “Men tended to select nearly every woman above a certain minimum attractiveness threshold.” You need a Ph.D. to discover this?
Now, here’s the more interesting part: The researchers said women were aware of the importance of their own attractiveness to men, and adjusted their expectations to select the more desirable guys. However, look at how women defined “desirable.”
“Women [selected] men who had overall qualities that were on a par with the women’s self-rated attractiveness. They didn’t greatly overshoot their attractiveness,” Todd said, “because part of the goal for women is to choose men who would stay with them.”
Interesting, isn’t it, that women innately knew that if a guy was much more attractive than she, he’s liable to leave her, no doubt for a woman whose attractiveness more closely matches his. At least this is her assumption.
But, Dr. Todd added, “[The women] didn’t go lower. They knew what they could get and aimed for that level.”
Women have a sense of their attractiveness level and don’t stoop lower. “But,” you ask, “how does this explain those homely men with the beautiful women?” It could be he has a lot of money, or he treats her in a way she likes and doesn’t get from other men. He could spoil her and shower her with gifts and attention, or he could ignore her and treat her like dirt. It’s his behavior in the long run that affects her attraction to him, not his looks.
But in this experiment she wouldn’t know how he’d treat her since they met for such a brief period. She mostly had to go by appearance, and women chose men around their same level of attractiveness.
So while we know that men make their choices (at least initially) based on their physical draw to the woman, it is interesting, and perhaps ironic, that the truth is the women’s attractiveness influenced the choices for both of them.
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