If you find yourself attracted to people who already have partners you’re not alone, according to new research.
Scientists have found men get an ‘attractiveness boost’ if they’re popular with other women.
This may be because women tend to view men with partners as more faithful and and, as a result, a better match that those that are single.
This is a tendency humans share with fish and bird as it helps females select high-quality males as sexual partners.
This in turn provides them with an evolutionary advantage, the study found.
Researchers have found men get an ‘attractiveness boost’ if they’re popular with other women (stock image). This mate-choice copying is shared with many species of fish and bird
The theory is that women are especially attracted to men with partners because they are more likely to be kind and faithful – which makes them ‘good mates’, according to research led by the University of St Andrews.
Dr Catharine Cross, from the University of St Andrews, told MailOnline: ‘Previous studies have suggested women choose men preferred by other women, because if these men are already in a relationship they are likely to have good qualities like kindness, which can’t be judged by appearance.
‘We see in some species of bird and fish that many females choose to mate with the same male, so it’s been suggested that women copy each other’s mating choices too.
‘Our study suggests however that copying the behaviour of others is useful in every area of life, which might also include choosing where to live and what to eat. It suggests that there is nothing special about men.’
Researchers collected attractiveness ratings of pictures of men’s faces, men’s hands, and abstract art.
They looked at these images before and after finding out how their peers had rated them.
Researchers found that when making judgements about attractiveness, the opinions of other people matter, regardless of who, or what, is being judged.
‘Ratings of faces were influenced by social information, but no more or less than were images of hands and abstract art’, researchers wrote in their paper, published in the journal Scientific Reports.
WHAT DO WOMEN FIND ATTRACTIVE IN MEN? HERE ARE 4 SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN TRAITS
1 – Popularity
Men appear more attractive if they’re popular with other women, according to scientists.
The theory is that women are especially attracted to men with partners because they are more likely to be kind and faithful – which makes them ‘good mates’.
2 – Money
Women are more likely to find men attractive if they think they have a bulging wallet, a new study has found – but for men it’s still all about the looks.
A recent study suggests that women are four times as sensitive to salary when considering a male partner as men are when choosing a female partner.
3 – Muscles
When it comes to what women want, muscular, tall men still win out, a recent Austrlian study suggests.
Scientists showed a group of 160 women photographs of shirtless, faceless men and asked to give them an attractiveness rating.
The results show men who looked strong, with muscular arms and toned torsos, did far better than those who had worked a little less hard at the gym.
4 – Intelligence
It seems that, for some, looks and personality really don’t matter.
Nearly one in ten people find intelligence to be the most attractive feature in a partner – a trait known as sapiosexuality, according to researchers at the University of Western Australia.
They looked at these images before and after finding out how their peers had rated them. On average people changed their initial rating by around 13 per cent towards whatever the social norm was
Researchers found that when making judgements about attractiveness, the opinions of other people matter, regardless of who, or what, is being judged. Researchers collected attractiveness ratings of pictures of men’s faces, men’s hands, and abstract art (pictured)
‘Women appear to copy the mate preferences of other women, but this might simply be because humans have a general tendency to be influenced by the opinions of others’, researchers found.
Participants answered the question ‘How attractive do you find this image?’ before seeing social information about what other people had said.
‘This allowed us to evaluate whether the estimates for social influence differed across image types’, researchers wrote.
On average people changed their initial rating by around 13 per cent towards whatever the social norm was.
‘These results are concordant with the self-reports of our participants, half of whom reported that they used a combination of their own opinion and social information when rating images, while the remainder reported using ‘mostly or only’ their own judgement’, researchers wrote.
‘Naïve participants would be expected to use social information to a much greater extent, although quantifying the effect of social information on naïve participants in experimental studies is methodologically challenging’.
Researchers believe participants’ ratings of attractiveness was more strongly influenced when they were asked to evaluate a someone for a long-term rather than short-term partnership.
This could be because a long-term partner’s suitability is based on qualities like prosociality and willingness to invest in offspring.
These traits are often harder for one individual to spot.
Previous studies have shown the partners of attractive women are more likely to be sought after than the partner’s of less attractive people.
This is because individuals of high mate quality are likely to have highly attractive partners.
The study also showed that lesbian and bisexual women found men with partners more attractive too.
This suggests women are influenced the same way, whether or not they view men as potential partners.