Well, here's something that's not all that surprising: guys are more likely to do good deeds if there's a pretty lady present. A little more interesting is the fact that the presence of a sexy dude doesn't seem to change ladies' do-gooding behavior at all.
According to ScienceDaily, researchers recruited 65 men and 65 women (average age: 21) and had them play a game where they donated money to a group fund. They didn't see the people they were playing with, but they did see an observer — one of "two physically attractive volunteers, one man and one woman" (how scientists line up "physically attractive volunteers" for studies is another question). Guys donated more when observed by the attractive lady than by the man; women donated the same no matter what. In another experiment, guys could make public donations while being watched by one of the observers. When the woman watched, they fought with each other over who could donate the most — when the man was observing, they did no such thing. Says study author Wendy Iredale,
The research shows that good deeds among men increase when presented with an opportunity to copulate. Theoretically, this suggests that a good deed is the human equivalent of the peacock's tail. Practically, this research shows how societies can encourage selfless acts.
Generosity is a socially accepted Impressing Ladies strategy that boys probably learn at a relatively early age. Street vendors know this — that's why they approach (straight) couples with flowers and other wares. But why don't women give money to impress dudes? I'd guess it has to do with the fact that women aren't expected to prove their worth as a partner through their spending habits, but shouldn't compassion be attractive to either sex? Whatever the case (and whatever gender you are), you can impress me by donating here. Mayor Bloomberg's doing it!
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