February 3, 2012

Why men behave nicely around pretty women...

If the man in your life is suddenly on his best behaviour, have a look around. Men apparently become nicer, kinder  and more caring when there is a beautiful woman nearby.

Women, however, feel less of a need to impress and remain true to themselves, even when there is a handsome chap hovering in the wings.

To investigate how having an audience affects our behaviour, British and Dutch researchers asked a group of men and women to play a computer game.

The 130 volunteers were told they could donate money into a communal pot via a computer programme.

They were told that others, whose details were kept secret, were also playing the game and, at the end, the money given away would be doubled and then shared out.

Some sat alone while playing the game. In other cases, an attractive man or women sat within reach.

When the men were watched by a woman, they donated 28 per cent more cash than when another man had his eyes on them.

They also donated more in the woman’s presence than when sitting alone.

But the female volunteers’ heads were less easily turned. They gave the same amount of money, no matter who was or wasn’t  watching, according to a report in the British Journal of Psychology.

The researchers then set up a second experiment, focusing on the men.

Once more, they were asked to decide how much money to give away, but this time the game had multiple rounds.

When watched by a woman, the men became competitive, with each seemingly trying to show he was nicer than the rest by giving more money away as time went on.

In contrast, those playing alone or with another man watching became less generous over the course of the game.

Finally, the men were asked if they would like to volunteer their time to charity. Again, the presence of a woman brought out the best in them. Offers of giving blood and working with children were particularly forthcoming.

Women are more likely to look on the bright side than men, a study has shown.

It found the female memory focuses on pleasant experiences. Men, however, tend to hold on to unpleasant recollections.

University of Montreal researchers showed 34 men and women a series of photos, ranging from pretty to disturbing.

Later, the women were better at remembering the pleasant pictures, while the men were best at recalling the awful ones.

The study is published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology.