Giving guys get the girls: Men appear more desirable to the opposite sex when displaying costly donations to the homeless

Wendy Iredale*, Keli Jenner, Mark Van Vugt, Tammy Dempster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

One of the evolutionary adaptive benefits of altruism may be that it acts as an honest (reliable) signal of men’s mate quality. In this study, 285 female participants were shown one of three video scenarios in which a male target took £30 out of a cash machine (ATM) and gave either a lot (£30), a little (£1), or nothing to a homeless man. The participants rated the male target on his attractiveness, their short-and long-term mate preferences towards him, and the degree to which they thought he was likely to possess various parenting qualities. The results showed that, regardless of whether the man was described as rich or poor, participants rated him as being more attractive when he donated money, but only when the donation was costly (£30). In addition, altruism was shown to be important in long-term, but not short-term mate choice, and displays of altruism were associated with positive parenting qualities. It is argued that displays of altruism act as a reliable (honest) mate signal for a potential long-term parental partner.

Original languageEnglish
Article number141
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Sciences
Volume9
Issue number8
Early online date11 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Altruism
  • Attraction
  • Costly signalling
  • Mate choice
  • Parenting qualities

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