Women do make men throw caution to the wind, research confirms

Mar 19, 2010

The presence of an attractive woman elevates testosterone levels and physical risk taking in young men, according to a recent study in the inaugural issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Researchers asked young adult to perform both easy and difficult tricks on skateboards, first in front of another male and then in front of a young, attractive female. The skateboarder's testosterone levels were measured after each trick.

When skateboarders attempt tricks, they make a split-second decision about whether to abort the trick or try to land it, based on a mid-air evaluation of the likelihood of success and on the physical costs that failure might bring. It was that moment the researchers sought to examine because it resembles the type of risky decisions that young men make when behind the steering wheel of a car or when in physical confrontations with each other.

Consistent with predictions, the young men took greater risks in the presence of the attractive female even when they knew there was a greater chance that they would crash. levels were significantly higher in these men than in the men who were in the presence of another male.

"This experiment provides evidence for an effect that has existed in art, mythology, and literature for thousands of years: Beautiful women lead men to throw caution to the wind," write authors Richard Ronay and William von Hippel. "These findings suggest that, for men, the adaptive benefits gained by enticing mates and intimidating rivals may have resulted in evolved hormonal and neurological mechanisms that facilitated greater risk taking in the presence of attractive women."

Explore further: Objectification in romantic relationships related to sexual pressure and coercion

More information: The article "The presence of an attractive woman elevates testosterone and physical risk taking in young men" in Social Psychological and Personality Science is available free for a limited time at spp.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/1/1/57

Provided by SAGE Publications

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User comments : 5

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christian_physicist
not rated yet Mar 19, 2010
Actually, you might say that the fact that the effect "has existed in art, mythology, and literature for thousands of years" is itself evidence that it is real. You don't need a Ph.D. from a modern university to be a great observer of human nature.
John_balls
Mar 19, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Objectivist
not rated yet Mar 19, 2010
Don't be so quick to validate the conclusions. It's most certainly no proof until a more narrow research is made. The presence of a beautiful woman does not solely mean raised testosterone levels, however injecting testosterone does. Basically much more than raised testosterone levels happen inside the male body when in the presence of a beautiful woman. Correlation does not equal causality.
NotAsleep
5 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2010
Instead of seat belts, every car should have a standard-issue ugly chick in the back seat. For added benefit, they can give directions and tell you when to apply the gas and brake

I give this post 10 minutes before the moderators remove it
El_Nose
5 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2010
@notsleep -- its called the wife effect

but in all seriousness

they asked young adult men to do skate board stunts regardless of whether or not they knew how to execute it - and if the practicing or conditioning happened in front of a maloe first then the option to finish or - not abort - in front of a female also indicates that they have practiced the challenge- note it does not say the percentage of successful completions of the riskier stunts. This is full of flaws, namely conditioned practice environments, lack of the ability to create a control group, and the check th ask if the men were heterosexual vs homosexual to draw a powerful conclusion as to sexual desire increase testosterone and riskier behavior - yes i am drawing the conclusion a gay male and a straight male are effected the same when in close proximity to someone they find attractive - and then did the researchers find the lady attractive or did the guys performing the action.

lies,damn lies, and staticstics
Mandan
5 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2010
Yes, you do need a study. Because without the study, there is no quantification/testing for testosterone levels, and thus no baseline blood levels of the hormone with which to correlate particular internal chemistry with particular external behavior.

Being a knee-jerk critic of basic science merely makes one part of your body look smart, which is not your brain.