Beauty does pay off
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.