Incels – involuntary celibates – are men who form their identity around their perceived inability to have romantic relationships with women.
They make up a dark and depraved online community of young heterosexual men who blame society and women for their lack of success with intimacy.
Some commentators have suggested that one reason why incels fail in the dating world is because they judge women too highly, and are unrealistic about the caliber of potential partner they will attract.
However, the first official study into incel mating psychology has suggested this is not the case.
Researchers at the University of Texas found that self-confessed incels actually make fewer demands of potential female suitors than men who are not in the group.
Another interesting finding was that incels were more likely to be of shorter height. Studies show that women are more likely to be attracted to taller-than-average men, which could contribute to the feeling of rejection that incels are known to harbor.
Being depressed, paranoid, anxious all make men more likely to become an incel, previous research from the University of Rome found. Attachment styles causing clingy behavior and a fear of rejection are also predictors of a hatred towards women, they discovered
Participants declared their ‘standards’ required for dating – as measured by scores out of ten across 15 categories. Incels reported lower standards for a partner than non-incels
Incels — many of whom advocate violence and rape against women — have been responsible for a growing number of terror attacks in recent years.
In May this year, self-described incel Mauricio Garcia, 33, shot dead eight people outside a shopping mall in Allen, Texas.
Garcia posted incel content to a Russian website which included multiple references to encouraging violence against women – including rape and murder. One post opened with the line: ‘I hate women.’
Elliot Rodger, who killed six people in a 2014 California gun and knife attack, posted a video shortly before the atrocity in which he complained about being a virgin at the age of 22 and how he had never kissed a girl.
He also published a 141-page document detailing his deep-rooted hatred of women, in which he said he could not understand why they did not want to have sex with him.
In the latest study, 319 men were recruited via social media.
Out of the men, aged 29 on average, 139 told researchers they identified as incels.
Most surprising were the incels’ relatively low standards.
On average, the incels were willing to settle for below average ratings on 12 out of 15 characteristics – from facial attractiveness, to sexual skill, to intelligence.
In the study, published in The Journal of Sex Research last month, participants had to choose a minimum score between one and ten which a person would have to meet across 15 traits for them to consider the person as a ‘potential long-term romantic partner.’
Elliot Rodger (pictured left) was 22 when he shot and killed six people in a sorority house mass shooting in 2014. In May this year, Mauricio Garcia, 33, shot dead eight people outside a shopping mall in Allen, Texas
The researchers did not make suggestions as to why the incels may have lower-than-average demands for romantic interests.
However, commentators have previously remarked that, despite the bravado, incels are characteristically insecure.
This may result in a belief that they are not worthy of the most successful and beautiful women.
Researchers also asked the men why they thought they’d been so unlucky in love.
Results showed that the incel group was more likely than the other to attribute their singlehood to external reasons, such as the competition posed by other men.
Incels’ responses suggested that they were more likely than others to assume they are inferior.
The findings also revealed striking differences in what incels assume to be attractive to women, compared to other men.
The disturbed group placed more importance on physical attractiveness and financial prospects, and underestimated women’s desire for intelligence, kindness and humor.