Sexy women can tempt men down the road of immorality: Exposure to sexy stimuli leads to increased dishonesty in men (2017)

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Wen-Bin Chiou, Wen-Hsiung Wu, Wen Cheng

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2017.02.001

Highlights

  • Viewing pictures of sexy women leads to a state of low self-control in men.
  • Men with mating motivation may adopt dishonesty or cheating for enhancing mate attraction.
  • Exposure to sexual stimuli can increase men ' s engagement in immoral behavior.

Abstract

Research has shown that viewing stimuli that induce mating or sex motivation can lead men to greater impulsivity, a manifestation of lower self-control. Recent advances in research on the connection between self-control and moral behavior indicate that low self-control is associated with increased dishonesty. From an evolutionary perspective, when mating motivation is activated, men may behave in dishonest ways by projecting characteristics in line with women ' s mate preferences to enhance their sexual attractiveness. We tested the possibility that exposure to pictures of sexually appealing women would engender lower self-control, leading men to behave dishonestly.

The results showed that a state of lower self-control was observed in males who viewed sexy women but not in males who viewed unsexy women or in females who viewed men (Experiment 1). Compared with control participants, male participants exposed to pictures of sexy women were less likely to return excess money received for participating (Experiment 2) and more likely to cheat in a matrix task (Experiments 3 and 4). State self-control mediated the link between exposure to sexual stimuli and dishonest behavior in men (Experiments 2 and 4).The present findings suggest that ubiquitous sexual stimuli in daily life may be more closely associated with men ' s morally questionable behavior such as dishonesty or cheating than previously thought. For men whose mating motivation is heightened by exposure to sexual stimuli, dishonesty appears to be a tactic for projecting characteristics preferred by women (e.g., large economic resources).

Keywords:

Mate attraction, Mating motivation, Men's dishonesty, Self-control, Sexual stimuli