Haselton's team said their study showed the cues are there, even if men and women are not consciously aware of them.
According to evolutionary psychology, women have a primal drive to provide the strongest, most virile and productive father for their children. Out of this primal drive comes the "need" to attract a great mate. Apparently this drive is so powerful, that women unconsciously try to "attract" a better mate!
Women usually ovulate on the 15th day of their menstrual cycles, and this day is when they are the most fertile. Ovulation is easily detected using urine tests, and Haselton's team used such a test to check fertility in their study.
They asked 30 university students to come to their lab for a test, without letting them know the nature of the experiment. "We asked them some things about food, for example," Haselton said in a telephone interview.
The women came back several times over the course of a month and were photographed twice -- once in their fertile phase and another time in their least-fertile phase. The faces in the photographs were blacked out.
Who Looks Hot?
The researchers asked 42 men and women, some older than the volunteers, to assess these photographs by asking, "In what photo is the person trying to look more attractive?"
The judges chose the photograph taken during the women's fertile phases 60 percent of the time, Haselton said. "This is well beyond chance. They were pretty consistent," she said.
"One of the things we found pretty interesting is that people sort of have their personal style, almost like their uniform," she added. "The women would show up to the lab wearing something pretty close to what they wore before, but embellished."
For example, one woman wore loose knit leggings and a tank top in both photos. "In her high fertility photograph, she would be wearing a very pretty tank top and she was wearing more jewelery. The difference was quite subtle," Haselton said.
The fertile women did not necessarily dress more provocatively, Haselton noted. "We did see a little bit more skin. It was my impression that the women were just dressing a little bit more fashionably but not sexier."
What Not to Expect
Haselton also was interested to note what did not happen.
"There's a popular notion that when women approach menstrual onset, they get out their bloated clothes and they pull out their sweats," she said. "But we didn't find that to be the case."
Haselton's team had earlier reported that women were more likely to flirt and look at attractive men when ovulating.
So ladies, tell your guys about this and I bet they have no problem getting back in the habit of taking you out several nights next month....all bunched together.
What's the best way to detect unconscious body signals?
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