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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 April, 2005, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK
Risk-taking men 'not attractive'
Bungee jump
Women were not attracted to men who bungee jump
Women are not attracted to dare-devil men, US researchers believe.

Men thought the opposite sex would be attracted by risky stunts such as bungee jumping and fast driving, a study of 48 men and 52 women found.

But in contrast, women said it was a turn-off, claiming they preferred more cautious people for partners.

However, the team from the University of Maine in Orono said those who took risks for the thrill were likely to be respected by fellow men.

Lead researcher Dr William Farthing said: "Men thought women would be impressed by pointless gambles, but women in fact preferred cautious men."

However, Dr Farthing said women were attracted to men with a high-status, so if the risk-taking meant a man was respected by his friends they could then become attractive.

Social norms are important and our society attaches importance to men expressing their macho qualities
Dr David Lewis, of the British Psychological Society

During the research, reported in New Scientist magazine, the young people were all given a series of scenarios to choose from, including saving someone's life and fast driving.

The participants were asked to decide which they found more attractive.

The majority of women choose an altruistic action, rather than a thrill-seeking scenario.

Dr David Lewis, a member of the British Psychological Society, said in many ways the findings were not surprising.

"Previous studies have show that women are attracted to someone who acts in an altruistic way. Saving someone's life shows a degree of empathy and sensitivity, and this is an attractive trait in men.

"On the other hand men see risk-taking as a particularly macho characteristic.

"Social norms are important and our society attaches weight to men expressing their macho qualities.

"But I think what you would find is that as men get older, they become less prepared to take risks.

"When you decide to do something you attach a cost-benefit to it, and when men are older the priorities they place on things change."


SEE ALSO:
Our animal instincts
14 Feb 05 |  Magazine
Beauty in the eye of the android
11 Feb 03 |  Scotland
Secrets of human attraction
29 Aug 00 |  Science/Nature


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