Research reveals why girls like bad boys

Dark traits attract more women

Couple, Man and Woman, Marie Claire News
Couple, Man and Woman, Marie Claire News
(Image credit: Rex Features)

Dark traits attract more women

Women are much more likely to be attracted to bad boys than their nicer counterparts, new research suggests.

Researchers at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces gave 200 college students personality tests to see how many of what psychologists call ‘dark triad traits’ they possessed. These traits include callousness, impulsive behaviour, extroversion, narcissism and various other anti-social traits for which ‘bad boys’ are known.

According to Peter Jonason, lead study investigator, although society tends to look down upon these ‘negative’ dark triad personality traits, there seems to be quite an upside to being a bad boy.

‘We would traditionally consider these dark triad traits to be adverse personality traits, and we think women would avoid these kinds of men, but what we show is counterintuitive - that women are attracted to these bad boys and they do pretty well in terms of sheer numbers of sexual partners,’ Jonason explained.

‘They're taking quantity over quality as their sexual agenda, being serially monogamous and having multiple partners or one-night stands.’

Jonason compared the type of ‘dark triad bad boy’ that the study refers to as a modern-day James Bond figure – a man with little empathy for others, a penchant for fast cars and even faster women, and a seeker of short-term rather than long-term goals – especially concerning the opposite sex.

And because these characters appear in this study to be successful at achieving their short-term goals – which, in this case, is a short-term sexual relationship – Jonason believes such character traits have persevered in so many people because they seem to be evolutionarily successful.

‘Dark triad traits are useful in pursuing our agendas at any given time,’ Jonason explained. ‘If you like someone and want to meet them and date them, people who have the dark triad traits appear to be more successful at facilitating short-term mating.’




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