Men surrounded by attractive ladies become kinder and more generous… but women are not so easily impressed
If the man in your life is suddenly on his best behaviour, have a look around.
Research shows that men become nicer, kinder and more caring when there is a beautiful woman nearby.
Women, however, feel less of a need to impress and remain true to themselves, even when there is a hunk hovering in the wings.
Dinner's on me! Men in the company of attractive women becoming more generous, hoping for a quicker route to their heart
To investigate how having an audience affects behaviour, the British and Dutch researchers asked a group of men and women to play a computer game.
The 130 volunteers were told they could donate money into a communal pot via a computer programme.
They were told that others, whose details were kept secret, were also playing the game and, at the end, the money given away would be doubled and then shared out.
Some sat alone while playing the game. In other cases, an attractive man or women sat within reach.
When the men were watched by the woman, they donated 28 per cent more cash than when the man had his eyes on them.
They also donated more in the woman’s presence than when sitting alone.
But the female volunteers’ heads were less easily turned. They gave the same amount of money, no matter who was or wasn’t watching, the British Journal of Psychology reports.
The researchers then set up a second experiment, focusing on men.
'The findings suggest that men can’t help but try to impress a beautiful woman'
Once more, they were asked to decide how much money to give away, but this time the game had multiple rounds.
The men were also shown pictures of other males and told they were also taking part.
When watched by a woman, the men became competitive, with each seemingly trying to show he was nicer than the rest by giving more and more money away as time went on.
In contrast, those playing alone or with another man watching, became less generous over the course of the game.
Finally, the men were asked if they would like to volunteer their time to charity.
Again, the presence of a woman brought out the best in them.
Offers of giving blood – something that would make them seem macho – and work with children were particularly forthcoming.
The findings suggest that men can’t help but try to impress a beautiful woman.
Sheffield Hallam University researcher Wendy Iredale compared the men’s behaviour to a peacock fanning his tale to attract a mate.
And doing good deeds, such as charity work, might be a quicker route to a woman’ s heart than buying a flashy car.
She said: ‘Men’s conspicuous displays, such as buying an expensive car, to impress women are well documented, yet these actions merely convey that these men are wealthy.
‘A public good contribution is perhaps a more powerful signal because it both conveys that men possess resources and are willing to share them.’
A previous study found that men give larger tips to waitresses – especially when they are wearing make-up.