Incensed about the treatment of asylum seekers? Spitting chips over government obfuscation on climate change? Well, you’re in luck. Your unwavering moral compass could make you a hell of a catch.
That’s the finding of a new study by researchers at the University of Arkansas, who found moral outrage is an attractive behaviour, particularly for those seeking long-term relationships.
Before you tweak your Tinder profile to highlight your robust advocacy of persecuted Chechens or by donning a BLM badge (or posting a black insta tile, for that matter), there’s a catch. Rather than just grandstanding at dinner parties, to be truly attractive to the opposite sex, you need to be prepared to act on your convictions.
In the study, which involved over 870 heterosexual participants, both sexes viewed moral outrage as desirable for a long-term partner, but women were much more attracted than men. This was possibly because displays of moral indignation were associated with trustworthiness and benevolence that could be seen as more valuable to women, the researchers say.
“Women incur a substantially larger minimal cost in reproduction (e.g., nine-month gestation, lactation) compared with men (e.g., single instance of sperm provision), which necessitates employment of stringent mate selection criteria to offset these costs,” says study author Mitch Brown, a psychology instructor. That line never seems to get old . . .
The findings are certainly a blow for the ‘hot-air Harrys’ and ‘keyboard Kevins’ of the world who talk a good game but aren’t ready to walk the walk. The researchers found the expression of moral outrage alone did not increase attractiveness, possibly because outrage without action could heighten perceptions of undesirable traits such as neuroticism and disagreeableness. It could also expose you as being inauthentic, a trait that’s not only unattractive, but doesn’t help anyone, either.