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NSYSU Inter-Institutional Research: Men Appear to Be Less Honest after Exposure to Pictures of Sexy Women
Publish date : 2017-06-23
Are men more likely to lie and cheat for the sake of attracting sexy women? Professor Wen-Bin Chiou of NSYSU Institute of Education, Assistant Professor Wen Cheng of NSYSU Center for Teacher Education, and Professor Wen-Hsiung Wu of Kaohsiung Medical University (KMU) conducted an inter-institutional research entitled “Self-control and honesty depend on exposure to pictures of the opposite sex in men but not women.” Findings of this research suggest that exposure to pictures of sexy women may sway men to promote their mate attraction via dishonest means. The research has been published in the internationally renowned journal Evolution and Human Behavior (2016 IF = 3.383, SOCIAL SCIENCES, BIOMEDICAL: Rank 2016 2/39; 2012 1/36). The findings have also attracted international attention through the media stories of several foreign media, including the US magazines Psychology Today “Femme Fatale: Sexy Women Sway Men to Do Bad Things” and Pacific Standard “Sex on the Brain Weakens Men’s Morality,” UK Daily Mail “The ugly truth … Beautiful girls make men dishonest,” and New Zealand magazines Herald News and The Hits.

The research involved heterosexual participants who were randomly assigned into two groups: one group was exposed to highly sexy opposite-sex pictures, the other group exposed to pictures with less sexy opposite-sex pictures. The research team then conducted tasks which indexed the participants’ state self-control and honesty. The results showed that a state of lower self-control was observed in males who viewed women rated high on sexual attractiveness but not in males who viewed women rated low on sexual attractiveness or in females who viewed men.

Professor Chiou states that through a series of four experiments, the findings showed that after exposure to pictures of women rated as being sexy, male participants became more impulsive and had poorer self-control, which led to increased engagement in dishonest behavior (not returning the excess money received for participating) and cheating (grading themselves higher scores than the actual performance in the matrix task).

Assistant Professor Cheng points out when male’s mating motivation is heightened by exposure to sexual stimuli (e.g. exposure to pictures of sexy women), they may adopt dishonest or cheating tactics to display preferred characteristics to women in order to promote mating attraction. For instance, to establish an advantage in female’s mating preferences using a dishonest strategy, a man can exaggerate muscular strength which signals masculinity and dominance, claim physical fitness which signals health, pretend to be a millionaire which signals abundant economic resources, fake a graduate degree or cheat to get better grades which signal intelligence, or fake altruistic displays which signal status. These signaled characteristics are all preferences of women in a mate.

The research team argues that sexual stimuli to heighten mating motivation can be found everywhere in daily life; some examples include the show girls in car shows, computer and other various exhibitions, sexy pictures on social media sites, internet pornography, and advertisements which feature sexy females to promote their goods and service (e.g. gyms, lingerie, boutiques, jewels, beauty clinics…etc.). Professor Chiou further elaborated that according to the findings of this research, men should monitor whether their immoral thoughts or impulses are related to sexual stimuli to which they may be exposed. The interesting thing is, though men yearn for sexy women, they may engage in dishonest behavior as a tactic for displaying characteristics preferred by women. In other words, men may be more likely to cheat or lie for the sake of attracting sexy women. Ironically, sexy women may more readily attract men who lie.
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