X factor: Women find proud men, not happy ones, attractive!

Women tend to find happy men less attractive than those who look proud and powerful, a new study has suggested. In contrast, men are most likely to get attracted to women who look happy, and least to those who appear proud and confident, found the University of British Columbia study.

According to the researchers, the study is the first to report a major gender difference in the attractiveness of smiles, and helps explain the enduring allure of “bad boys” and other iconic gender stereotypes. It is also the first study to investigate the attractiveness of displays of pride and shame, said Jessica Tracy, who led the study. “While showing a happy face is usually considered essential to friendly social interactions, including those involving sexual attraction – few studies have actually examined whether a smile is, in fact, actually attractive,” Tracy explained.

“It finds that men and women respond very differently to displays of emotion, including smiles,” she said. For their study, the researchers asked more than 1,000 adult participants to rate the sexual attractiveness of hundreds of images of the opposite sex. These photos included universal displays of happiness (broad smiles), pride (raised heads, puffed-up chests) and shame (lowered heads, averted eyes). The researchers found that women were last attracted to smiling, happy men – in contrast to men, who were most attracted to women who looked happy.

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