How To Attract Men – Be Socially Warm, Study
Researchers Patrick Markey and Charlotte Markey have discovered, through their study, that while men report women to be most attractive whom show interpersonal warmth, women also tend to naturally behave more interpersonally warm as they near peak fertility.
Women have been shown to undergo many changes as they near their highest fertility days, which usually occurs about mid-menstrual cycle (day 12 to be specific). Research has shown that women will dress more fashionably and sexy, and tend to go out more often, presumably so they will be noticed by men.
This may be due to intrasexual competition. As men are not all created equally, women, like men, also need to actively compete against their own sex for the most desirable members of the opposite sex. As women naturally near their peak fertility, they behave in accordance with attracting attention from the most desirable men.
However, while physical attractiveness is certainly desirable in women due to its signal of relative health and fertility, women whom display various other characteristics are also important to men. Both men and women desire mates who are kind, intelligent, good companions, considerate, honest, affectionate, dependable, intelligent, understanding, interesting to talk to, and loyal. However, while men tend to rate physical attractiveness as more important in a mate than women, women tend to put greater emphasis on kindness, understanding and affectionate as most important.
The Current Study
In the current study, male participants completed a survey aimed at determining the types of interpersonal style they preferred in a potential mate. Specifically, the researchers wished to place their desires on an interpersonal “circumplex.” The circumplex model places behavioural styles across two axes: dominance and warmth. In total, 8 main interpersonal styles can result linked to a lesser or greater degree of dominance or warmth. Those personal styles that fall closer together are more positively related than styles that are further apart. The interpersonal styles also blend together. For example, dominance and warmth blended together to form extraversion.
According to the results, men reported warm-agreeable as the most desirable and the cold-hearted as the least desirable. Specifically, men tend to rate their ideal mates as kind, sympathetic, accommodating, and gentle mannered.
In the next part of the study, data was collected from 86 women with the average age of 18, roughly half of which were cycling normally and half which were using hormonal contraceptives.
Every night for 31 nights, the participants logged into an internet website to record their data. Participants reported how they tended to behave that day by completing the warm-agreeable, cold-hearted, assured-dominant, un-assured-submissive scales of the “Interpersonal Adjective Scale.”
Results indicated that the women who used and did not use hormonal contraceptives did not significantly differ in terms of amount of interpersonal warmth. However, analysis of the results showed that there was a significant increase in interpersonal warmth if participants were cycling normally, than if they were not. Therefore, most importantly, women who were normally cycling tended to exhibit greater changes in their interpersonal warmth over their menstrual cycle which was more intense during peak fertility.
Therefore, as women neared their window of high fertility, they tended to become more interpersonally warm and more likely to act in a kind, sympathetic and gentle manner, than during periods of low fertility.
Both studies taken together suggest much overlap in men’s preferences in women and women’s actual behaviour as they near peak fertility.
Thus, by extension, it seems obvious to conclude that women alter their interpersonal style during periods of high fertility to match the desires of men.
According to the researchers, it is also possible that women do so to “compete with other women for access to potential mates — Just as women might dress “sexier” during periods of high fertility, women might also act in an interpersonally warm manner during this time period in order to compete with other women on the mating market.”
Additional studies seem to confirm these findings.
Also, the results tie with women’s desire to dress more overtly coupled with boosts to increased reported sexual desires and sexual fantasies which peak during high fertility. This suggests a hormonal mediational pathway which influences the desires of women that conveniently blends into their actual behaviour.
Take Away Message
The research not only clearly illustrates the effects hormones play on women’s behaviour, it also shows how the desires that men have, play into the overall process.
While hormones may mediate the behaviours of women over the course of their menstrual cycle peaking with interpersonal warmth as they near peak fertility, it is not as if women can not act warm throughout their menstrual cycle – especially if they desire attracting men over a more consistent time-frame.
One might also wonder if women whom have long and successful marriages also tend to behave more warmly overall than women who fail in long relationships. As this quality is most favoured by men, it is also one that is likely to foster a happy and therefore, long relationship.
The most obvious take-away message is that should women aim to attract and keep the most desirable men, they should aim to show qualities of warmth over say, qualities of dominance, as men tend to find these most desirable.
Image Credit: Rebecca Krebs
Markey, Patrick and Charlotte Markey. Changes in Women’s Interpersonal Styles Across the Menstrual Cycle. Journal of Research in Personality 45. 2011. 493-499.