How far would you go to get the attention of the one you love? According to a recent study it seems that given a romantic opportunity, men are willing to take big risks in getting attention from the opposite sex, and what's more it's all down to evolution.
From Romeo to Robin Hood, Tristan to Tarzan, fiction is inundated with men who are willing to face a multitude of trials, troubles and tribulations when it comes to winning the affections of the one they love. But it appears that the act of taking risks to impress women has a strong foundation in real life, where the inclination to face dangers for the opposite sex has been prevalent since the dawn of man, and is still evident to this day.
Risk-taking behaviour has (in part) been evolved to enhance an individual's ability to attract a mate finds a recent study from the Journal of Risk Research:
According to the authors, "in the evolutionary past, our ancestors were faced with a hazardous environment where they were forced to take greater risks in order to find shelter, food and sexual partners. Thus, individuals who played it safe in that they did not take any risks at all, were unlikely to survive."
So, it appears that men have inherited this willingness to face dangers for women from our risk-friendly ancestors. However, in a modern age where these previous problems are all but extinct, men increasingly look to other forms to showcase their willingness to take risks.
The study looks at three examples of risk taking behaviour in men and women: sexual risk taking (i.e. unprotected sex), gambling and reckless driving. In all three tests, men were seen to show a greater inclination to take the inherent risks involved once a romantic element has been induced. Women however showed no increased desire to take unnecessary risks.
Of course, note that authors, whilst these activities may have perceived benefits in the short term, the long-term effect of these modern day risks are potentially devastating, something that male readers may want to consider in the run-up to Valentine's Day!
- Tobias Greitemeyer, Andreas Kastenmüller, Peter Fischer. Romantic motives and risk-taking: an evolutionary approach. Journal of Risk Research, 2013; 16 (1): 19 DOI: 10.1080/13669877.2012.713388
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