Friday, April 21, 2006

Much Explained -- Why Sex Sells Edition

From the "that research must have been really fun" file:

It seems that the more macho a man is — at least according to his hormones — the more the sight of an attractive woman will affect his judgement.

Researchers at the University of Leuven in Belgium asked men to play an ultimatum game, in which they split a certain amount of money between them. High-testosterone men drove the hardest bargain — unless they had previously viewed pictures of bikini-clad models, in which case they were more likely to accept a poorer deal.

The sight of flesh had less effect on the bargaining tactics of low-testosterone men.

I really love economics.

(P.S. for Dave B., the study was done by Bram Van den Bergh and Siegfried Dewitte. Does Jan know these guys? Did he get to particiapte in the study?)

A few other interesting findings in the same vein (all archived here):

Psychologists Margo Wilson and Martin Daly at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, asked students whether they would prefer, say, $19 tomorrow or $25 next week. They then showed them the faces of ladies whose attractiveness was ranked on the website 'How Hot Am I?'.

After eyeballing pictures of pretty women, men were more likely to want immediate monetary gratification than to wait for a bigger bonus. Women's calculations, on the other hand, were unaffected by male eye candy, as were men's after ogling plainer women or fancy cars.

With ladies fresh in their minds, men want money immediately because they might use it to impress and woo them, Wilson suggests. Such a trait might have been evolutionarily advantageous: men with more to offer might have been better able to get the girl.

Scientists reported last week that male rhesus monkeys will 'pay' to check out pictures of female monkey bottoms or images of socially dominant members of their species.

The insight into monkey urges was arrived at by researchers at Duke University in North Carolina who gave male macaques the choice of looking at images on a computer screen of either a female's posterior or of a socially-dominant monkey. They found that the monkeys would take a cut in their fruit juice allowance for glimpses of either alluring vision. As they report in Current Biology magazine, the pleasures of pay-per-view television appear to be shared by more than one species. However, when the monkeys were offered visions of a social inferior monkey they refused to look unless they were paid extra rations.

He claims not to know them, and did not participate. He says "I would have taken all the money and the bikini pictures."
Bryce: Can you please look at sexy pictures before grading our final papers?
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