(Medical Xpress)—Two independent studies have found that women find men more attractive if they are holding a guitar. The first one, conducted by researchers in France was based on a young man asking strangers for a date—their results are outlined in an article they've had published in Psychology of Music. In the second study researchers used Facebook Friend requests to gauge guitar holding attractiveness. Their results have been detailed in an article they've had published in Letters on Evolutionary Behavioral Science.
In the first study, researchers from Université de Bretagne-Sud, France enlisted the assistance of a young "good looking" male volunteer. He was asked to approach 300 young women on the street, tell them he thought they were pretty and ask for their number. During 100 of the encounters he carried a guitar, another 100 times a gym bag and the other 100 times nothing at all. In tabulating the results, the researchers found that women gave their number to the young man 31 percent of the time when he was holding a guitar, but only 14 percent of the time when he was carrying nothing. When he was holding a gym bag, he got a number just 9 percent of the time.
In the second study, researchers from Israel's Ruppin Academic Center, created two Facebook accounts for an "attractive" young man—in one account the profile picture showed him holding a guitar, in another he was not. The researchers then sent out Friend requests to 100 young women who listed themselves as single on their profile. They found that 14 out of 50 requests were accepted if the young man was pictured holding a guitar, while only 5 out of 50 were accepted if he appeared without the guitar. In a follow-up, the researchers repeated the experiment in the same way except they used a female model and sent requests to single men. Interestingly, they report that a woman holding a guitar did not appear to change the likelihood of having her Friend request accepted. Thus, it appears that guitar holding only works to boost male attractiveness.
None of the researchers can say for sure why it is that women appear to find men holding a guitar more attractive, though the French team has a theory—they suggest it's because women view men who play guitar as having more intellectual or physical abilities.
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More information: Men's music ability and attractiveness to women in a real-life courtship context, Psychology of Music, May 1, 2013 0305735613482025. Published online before print May 1, 2013, doi: 10.1177/0305735613482025
This experiment tested the assumption that music plays a role in sexual selection. Three hundred young women were solicited in the street for their phone number by a young male confederate who held either a guitar case or a sports bag in his hands or had no bag at all. Results showed that holding a guitar case was associated with greater compliance to the request, thus suggesting that musical practice is associated with sexual selection.
Guitar Increases Male Facebook Attractiveness: Preliminary Support for the Sexual Selection Theory of Music, Letters on Evolutionary Behavioral Science , PDF.