Birnbaum GE et al. Why do men prefer nice women? Gender typicality mediates the effect of responsiveness on perceived attractiveness in initial acquaintanceships. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2014 Oct;40(10):1341-53. Epub 2014 Jul 25. PMID: 25062930.

Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2014 Oct;40(10):1341-53. doi: 10.1177/0146167214543879. Epub 2014 Jul 25.

Why do men prefer nice women? Gender typicality mediates the effect of responsiveness on perceived attractiveness in initial acquaintanceships.

Birnbaum GE(1), Ein-Dor T(2), Reis HT(3), Segal N(4).

Author information:
(1)Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Israel birnbag@gmail.com.
(2)Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Israel.
(3)University of Rochester, NY, USA.
(4)University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.

Responsiveness may signal to a potential partner that one is concerned with her or his welfare, and may therefore increase sexual interest in this person. Research shows, however, that this proposition holds true for men, but not for women. In three studies, one observational and two experimental, we explored a potential mechanism that explains why men and women diverge in their sexual reactions to a responsive opposite-sex stranger. Studies 1 and 2 showed that men, but not women, perceived a responsive stranger as more gender typical (masculine/feminine) and, in turn, as more attractive. Study 3 revealed that responsiveness increased men's perception of partner's femininity. This, in turn, was associated with higher sexual arousal, which was, in turn, linked to greater partner attractiveness and greater desire for a long-term relationship. These findings suggest that whether responsiveness affects perceptions of partner attractiveness varies in individuals, depending on the contextually based meaning of responsiveness.

© 2014 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

PMID: 25062930  [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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