Beauty does pay off

Townsville Bulletin - - Life -

PEO­PLE who think they are at­trac­tive are less likely to of­fer to pay for a din­ner date, ac­cord­ing to a new study.

Re­searchers f ound t hat peo­ple who judge them­selves good-look­ing tend to ex­pect their po­ten­tial love in­ter­est to pay for the meal.

Psy­chol­o­gists from the Univer­sity of St An­drews also found that women pre­ferred men to pay, es­pe­cially when they were hand­some.

Men were more likely to of­fer to pay for fe­male dates if they were pretty.

P s y c h o l o g i s t D o c t o r Michael Stir­rat said: ‘‘ The con­text is a hy­po­thet­i­cal dat­ing con­text.

‘‘ You would ex­pect peo­ple to have a knowl­edge about how good-look­ing they were and so the more at­trac­tive peo­ple in that con­text are j u s t g o i n g t o g e t mo r e in­ter­est, so they need to make less ef­fort in that sit­u­a­tion ei­ther to meet peo­ple, or get a chance to im­press peo­ple, so it does make sense that more at­trac­tive peo­ple would be less will­ing to pay.

‘‘ They are go­ing to have more op­por­tu­nity so they can be more choosy.’’

The psy­chol­o­gists car­ried out the study by set­ting up hy­po­thet­i­cal blind dates.

They asked the 245 men and 171 women to rate how hand­some or pretty they thought they were.

T h e r e s e a r c h e r s t h e n showed them 12 fa­cial im­ages of the op­po­site sex, rang­ing from unattrac­tive to g o o d - l o o ki ng, a nd a s ked them who they would pre­fer to pay the bill if they went for a meal.

ON THE MENU: A new study ex­am­ines the­o­ries on how at­trac­tive­ness ef­fects who should pay for a meal

Most of­ten par­tic­i­pants said they would pre­fer to split the bill, with 47 per cent of men ques­tioned and 50 per c e n t o f wo me n q u i z z e d choos­ing that op­tion.

Both sexes more of­ten re­ported a pref­er­ence for their date to pay than to pay for the meal them­selves.

The re­searchers also found that par­tic­i­pants of both sexes who con­sid­ered them­selves at­trac­tive were more likely to pre­fer their date to pay for the meal.

Dr Stir­rat said: ‘‘ What was i nter­est­ing was t hat t he women tended to say the more at­trac­tive the man the more likely they were to say they would like him to pay.

‘‘ The women re­sponded to this as a sig­nal, they would rather that a more at­trac­tive man paid for the meal than a less at­trac­tive man be­cause it seems to be that they saw this as a sig­nal to fur­ther pur­sue the evolv­ing re­la­tion­ship.

‘‘ If you keep it re­cip­ro­cal it’s like say­ing I’m not re­ally in­ter­ested.’’ The ex­perts car­ried out the study as part of in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the role of ‘‘ food pro­vi­sion­ing’’ in hu­mans.

The study – The Ef­fect of At­trac­tive­ness on Food Shar­ing Pref­er­ences in Hu­man Mat­ing Mar­kets – is pub­lished in Evo­lu­tion­ary Psy­chol­ogy.

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