Men feel most generous online when donating to attractive women — especially if other men have already given them money. That is the conclusion of a new study published in the journal "Current Biology" looking at “competitive altruism.” Researchers had subjects rate the attractiveness of 668 participants in the London Marathon who were raising money for various causes. Men gave the most money to women rated as attractive. That number climbed higher if the woman had already received a large donation from a man. In fact, men gave four times as much to that group than they did to other men, women rated as unattractive, or women who had only received donations from other women.
The conclusion? Males engage in "competitive altruism" to give off signals that they are suitable mates, even if it's not a conscious decision. "We don't think that males are seeing large donations from other males to attractive female fundraisers, and then thinking 'Yeah, I'll give more than him because she will find me more attractive then,'" Richola Raihani, co-author of the study from University College London, said in a press release. "I think it is more likely that humans have an evolved psychology that motivates us to behave in ways that would have been, on average, adaptive in our evolutionary past — and may still be nowadays also."
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