It turns out that men aren't looking for beauty with brains when it comes to finding a woman. A new study says that traits such as stupidity, drunkenness, and sleepiness have been rated as attractive.
According to the Daily Mail, an article in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior written by University of Texas graduate student Cari Goetz examines the sexual exploitability hypothesis. This theory says that men are genetically programmed to look for easy sex. The goal of the study was to test the idea that a woman that seems silly or inert is a turn on for the average straight male.
The study tested 76 male students, with the results finding that vulnerable-looking women were rated as attractive.
Male participants rated photographs of women who displayed varying levels of cues to exploitability the researchers said, according to the Daily Mail. These cues included being sleepy or stupid, giving the appearance of being easily exploitable.
In the scope of evolutionary psychology, the term exploitable means that a woman is willing or can be easily pressured into having sex. The researchers asked a large group of undergraduate students to indicated specific actions, body postures, attitudes and personality traits that signal vulnerability. This includes exhaustion, intoxication or low intelligence.
Participants produced a list of 88 signs that indicate a woman may be more receptive to men's advances. These include a lip lick or bite, an over-the-shoulder look, sleepiness or intoxication, tight clothing, fat, short, unintelligent, punk, attention-seeking and touching breast.
After finding these results, Goetz and her research team searched the Internet for public images of women displaying these 88 cues. Once they had obtained these photos, they cross checked them with a separate group of students who presumed that the photos matched the cues. Then a different group of 76 male students viewed the photos, with the researchers asking them how easy it would be to pick up any of the women in these images and if they appealed as short-term or long-term partners.
The study found that the images of short or fat women didn't have any effect, and the participants did not identify them as easy to bring to bed or as appealing partners. But when it came to the contextual and psychological cues, as the Mail reports, men rated them as easy to score with. These photos included women looking childish, silly, sleepy, or drunk.
The dumb-looking women were also perceived as more attractive than their intelligent and intellectual-seeming counterparts, according to the study. However, the study found that this only applied to short term relationships.
But when the men were asked to evaluate the same group of drunk or silly-looking women as potential wives or girlfriends, they lost their appeal.
A follow-up study aimed to find the specific type of male that would be most aware to these exploitability cues. Graduate student David Lewis and his colleagues asked 72 straight men to evaluate the photos, but this time also measured personality traits found in the male judges. This found that the promiscuous men that seemed most attuned to these cues happened to have deficiencies in personal empathy and warmth.
However, CNBC financial reporter John Carney offered different insight as to why men prefer less-intelligent women, according to The Atlantic Wire. Carney attributed this reasoning to today's knowledge economy, citing that women who aren't as smart have more leisure time because they aren't financially rewarded for staying in school or working long hours. These women would seek out a more intellectual partner for economic advancement, he said.
Dumb chicks have both greater opportunities and greater incentives to try harder to date smart men than smart women do, he said, according to the Atlantic Wire.
The call option theory plays a big role in the knowledge economy idea that Carney supports. This basically means that more intelligent people have the option to end a relationship to focus more on their careers, unlike less intelligent people. Carney continues that in a rational dating world, smart men would discount these intellectual women because of their call options. However, this doesn't seem to apply in the opposite scenario.
Whatever the answer is, Carney said. It is creating an unmet arbitrage opportunity- an overabundance of intelligent, single women and an over-abundance of less intelligent, single men.