Study suggests helping others boosts attractiveness
FRIDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Looking for someone to celebrate next Valentine's Day with? New research suggests you'll gain extra points with prospective mates if you give of yourself to others in activities like volunteering.
When it comes to romance, "being generous can pay off," said study author Pat Barclay, an assistant professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, who wrote the study while at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.
The study found that both men and women were more attracted to an altruistic, giving person when seeking out a long-term relationship.
Barclay, who performed the research at Canada's McMaster University, asked 150 women and 155 men to view photos and profiles of people of the opposite sex. The participants were then asked to rank how attractive the people were and disclose how willing they'd be to have either a short- or long-term relationship with them.
In some cases, Barclay added information to the profiles that suggested a person might be generous and altruistic. A profile might say, for instance, that the person volunteered at a local food bank.
The study findings appear in the February issue of the British Journal of Psychology.
"We found that the addition of generosity to a person's profile will increase their attractiveness for relationships, in particular long-term relationships," Barclay said.
There was a gender divide when it came to more casual affairs, however. "For short-term dates, women were attracted to the generous guys, but men had no preference regarding generosity," Barclay said. "For a one-night stand, men actually preferred neutral, non-generous women over the generous. They had an aversion to generosity."
Why? Barclay speculated that it may have to do with men thinking they couldn't attract a more generous woman or assuming such a wo
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