This news release is available in French.
In Concordia's study, men responded more strongly to the "framing effect" when physical attractiveness was described.
A hamburger that's 90 per cent fat-free sounds a lot better than one with 10 per cent fat. And even when the choices are the same, humans are hard-wired to prefer the more positive option.
This is because of what's known as the "framing effect," a principle that new research from Concordia has proved applies to mate selection, too.
The study co-authored by Concordia marketing professor Gad Saad and Wilfrid Laurier University's Tripat Gill, and published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior shows that when we choose a partner, the framing effect is even stronger in women than it is for men.
"When it comes to mate selection, women are more attuned to negatively framed information due to an evolutionary phenomenon called 'parental investment theory,'" says Saad, who has done extensive research on the evolutionary and biological roots of consumer behavior.
"Choosing someone who might be a poor provider or an unloving father would have serious consequences for a woman and for her offspring. So we hypothesized that women would naturally be more leery of negatively framed information when evaluating a prospective mate."
To prove this, Saad and Gill called on hundreds of young men and women to take part in their study.
Participants were given positively and negatively framed descriptions of potential partners. For example:
"Seven out of 10 people who know this person think that this person is kind."
"Three out of 10 people who know this person think that this person is not kind." [negative frame]
|Contact: Clea Desjardins|