There’s nothing quite like a picture of a sexy woman to get you in the cheater’s mindset, right?
Right, says a new research paper by several Taiwanese academics, who found that the mere sight of attractive women can make men more dishonest.
Given the amazing title, “Sexy Women Can Tempt Men Down the Road of Immorality: Exposure to Sexy Stimuli Leads to Increased Dishonesty in Men,” the study revealed that men who are looking for a mate tend to exhibit dishonesty and are more likely to cheat to improve their chances of attracting one.
“Honesty entails a typical self-control dilemma in which one must conform to moral rules while exerting control over amoral, selfish impulses,” explains lead researcher Chiou Wen-bin, a professor at the NSYSU Institute of Education. “Thus, low self-control should be associated with increased dishonesty. In short, we tested that men’s greater impulsivity (i.e., a manifestation of lower self-control) induced by exposure to pictures of sexy women would prompt dishonest behaviour.”
The study involved about 100 men in their early 20s, who were split into two groups. One group viewed a series of sexualised pictures, while the other looked at non-sexual images of women. All were required to take a self-control test and answer a series of math questions, Chiou says, adding that each participant was promised $4 for their time. However, at the end of the experiment, the participants instead received an envelope containing $5.80. Those who had seen the suggestive pictures were more than twice as likely to walk away with the extra couple of bucks, with only 54.1 percent handing back the excess cash, compared with 78.4 percent of the other group.
So why do men think that being shifty is the go-to route for landing a partner in the first place? “According to the perspective of sexual strategies in mate choice, women value physical attractiveness and resources,” Wen-bin says. “Given that physical attractiveness and resources cannot be increased quickly, dishonesty can serve as a low-cost, convenient shortcut to acquire resources, power, status and reputation. Which is why, according to the research, men with a heightened mating motive may engage in dishonest behaviours to display preferred characteristics to women in order to promote mate attraction.”
It’s not just lying about that fancy sports car outside being yours, either.
“A man can exaggerate muscular strength, which signals masculinity and dominance,” says Wen-bin. “He can claim physical fitness, which signals health; pretend to be a millionaire, which signals abundant economic resources; fake a graduate degree or cheat to get better grades, which signals intelligence; or fake altruistic displays, which signal status.”
Interestingly, the same isn’t true of women: “Our experiment showed no significant difference in self-control between female participants who were exposed to pictures of sexually appealing men, and those who were exposed to pictures of less sexy men,” says Wen-bin.
Still, Wen-bin is interested in furthering his research into women’s mating behaviour — specifically, whether encountering physically attractive rivals can induce a woman’s intention to have cosmetic surgery.
“The notion of mate preference and empirical evidence indicate that men value cues to a woman’s fertility such as youth, facial attractiveness, waist-to-hip ratio and the firmness and size of breasts,” explains Wen-bin. “Therefore, cosmetic surgery may be considered as intrasexual competition. Women who encounter physically attractive rivals may have greater intentions to take cosmetic surgery for enhancing their advantage over other women.”
So it seems, perhaps, that all of us might be driven to some kind of subterfuge when it comes to landing a partner.
Now excuse me while I go wax my Koenigsegg Regera, ladies.