Sport, attractiveness and aggression

Brewer, Gayle orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0690-4548 and Howarth, Sharon (2012) Sport, attractiveness and aggression. Personality and Individual Differences, 53 (5). pp. 640-643. ISSN 0191-8869

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Previous research indicates that male athletes attract a higher number of sexual partners than non athletes. Furthermore, sport may provide a lek type environment in which men can develop and display a range of desirable traits. The current study investigated the attractiveness of male targets as a function of involvement in sport and the aggressiveness of the sporting participation. Heterosexual women (N = 84) aged 19–39 (M = 25.52, SD = 3.20) were opportunity sampled from the local community. Participants were presented with a facial photograph of a male target, described as either (a) not playing sport, (b) playing sport on a casual basis, (c) playing competitive sport non aggressively, or (d) playing competitive sport aggressively. Women rated the attractiveness of the male target and their willingness to enter relationships of varying degrees of commitment with him. For each level of relationship commitment, participants rated men that did not engage in sport or engaged in sport on a casual basis as the least attractive. Men that played competitive sport in an aggressive manner were rated as the most desirable partner for all levels of relationship commitment, including both short and long term relationships.

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