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Bad boys get their gal: Study

Hey guys, if you’re on the prowl, you can drop the nice guy act.

Hey guys, if you’re on the prowl, you can drop the nice guy act.

By a wide margin, women really do find bad boys more attractive than their kind and happy counterparts, a new University of British Columbia study says.

“That’s very much what we found,” says UBC psychologist Jessica Tracy, the lead study author.

The study, which involved about 1,000 people split evenly between men and women, had subjects view pictures of opposite sex individuals displaying expressions of pride, shame, happiness or a neutral demeanour.

The participants were then asked to rate their attractiveness on a scale of one to nine.

For women, Tracy said, a proud physical expression made males most alluring. But close behind, those men who had sagging shouldered shame written large on their faces were given surprisingly high attractiveness ratings.

The study was released yesterday by the American Psychological Association journal Emotion.
While a proud man’s attractiveness to women may be easily explained on an evolutionary level, the allure of the bad boy is more elusive, said Tracy, who specializes in physical expressions of emotion.

“Pride conveys high status, strength, power (and) these are all pretty good things to have in a mate,” she says.

Bad boys, depicted in the photo arrays with “brooding” expressions, may well elicit a desire in women to both forgive the guy and to fix him up, Tracy said.

When it came to men’s perceptions, sexual turn-ons are flipped on their heads, Tracy said.

“For the men … women who show happiness are considered by far the most attractive,” she said.

“Women who show pride aren’t considered all that attractive.”