|Women are mainly preoccupied with two things in male selection: physical appearance and social status.|
According to Guéguen and colleagues (2013), two factors have a great impact on the way women become attracted by men. It is their physical appearance (i.e., fertility and good genes) and their social status (i.e., material resources). According to evolution theory and differential parental investment theory, women seek a high income and a high social status in men because it predicts security for the child. A high income means that there are sufficient resources available for the child that will help it to survive. Studies have found this phenomenon to be true across cultures, which supports the evolutionary idea of mate selection.
The following two studies support the idea of social status as an important factor for mate selection: (1) men who wore a firefighter's uniform were more likely to get a phone number from a woman in the street than one who wore normal clothing; (2) women more frequently gave their phone numbers to men in high-value cars than normal ones.
Guéguen et al. (2013) examined how visual cues associated with musical practice (i.e. an ability that might reflect both social status and physical appearance) would influence, how willing women were to give their phone numbers away to random men. According to their research article, former studies have found music to have a positive impact on sexual selection, and thus, men's musical abilities might influence the way women select their mates. Previous studies have found that women normally do not comply with requests from strangers in the street. Therefore, they wanted to find out, whether men's musical ability would improve the chances.
In their study, they hired a 20-year-old physical attractive man as an actor, who were not informed of the study hypothesis. He was asked to approach women randomly (not based on their appearance) so that participants were randomly assigned. The study was conducted in a real-life setting, and it had three research conditions: (1) a guitar case condition; (2) a sports bag condition; (3) a no-bag condition.
Guéguen et al. (2013) found that women were more willing to accept a request from the strange man if he wore a guitar case, and they also found that the effect was not due to the preference of just a bag (since the sports bag did not reveal such an effect). For this reason, the study supports the theory that playing music has a positive impact on sexual selection. Explanations for this could be that playing guitar reflects good genes; fertility; physical and intellectual abilities; and social status. According to evolution theory, if women associate playing music with good genes and fertility, they might be more interested in short-term relationships, whereas if they associate it with higher social status and a high income, they might be more interested in long-term relationships.
Image credit: Kmeron