When researchers point out the obvious! 17



View Profile

Two British professors have just spent a good deal of time and, no doubt, a great deal of public money to come to the conclusion that men give more to a charity if the fundraiser is an attractive woman.

Can you believe that? Isn’t that a simply mind-boggling revelation? Gosh, what next? An in-depth research project to determine if men of a certain age ever thought that Maggie Thatcher could have been a sensational lingerie model?

The two researchers admitted to not knowing why men actually did this while women, on the other hand, appeared to be unaffected by the looks of male fundraisers. They suspect that there is a fundamental biological difference between the sexes – at least when it comes to handing over your hard-earned to charity – between men and women.

Who would have guessed that there were fundamental biological differences between the sexes? Thank goodness for this trail-blazing research.

I don’t want to be thought of as being an unreconstructed misogynistic old fart but it was when I read the two researchers were women – Professors Sarah Smith and Nichola Raihani – that I began to understand why they were so surprised by this conclusion. No doubt, they are so married to their work that their relationships with men have not perhaps been as in-depth as those of more worldly-wise women.

I could have told them this would be the result of their study before they even started.

I once observed a chum of mine who was legendary for his miserliness making a sizable donation to a charity which I actually knew was completely alien to his general political convictions. He had a bag of ten cent coins and was slowly dropping them one by one into the donation tin of a petite little blond with a quite extraordinary décolletage.

He is a tallish bloke and was standing as close as he could to the buxom lass without actually stomping on her feet while he dropped in the coins and his eyes, peering down, were fixed in an obsessive stare. No doubt he was looking at the tin and didn’t want to miss it with his gentle rain of coins.

Anyhow, back to the research.

What the two professors did was analyse nearly 700 charity fundraising pages from website of the 2014 London Marathon. Fundraisers who use this platform present their name, photo and the charity to receive the funds raised. The attractiveness of the entrants was judged using a 10-point score by four reviewers of the opposite sex.

“Fundraising pages provide a fascinating real-life laboratory for looking at charity donations. Now we see that the response depends, albeit subconsciously, on the fundraiser’s attractiveness,” Professor Smith said.

“Albeit subconsciously”? Words fail me.

Now how about this staggering conclusion: They believe that the men donating to attractive women “are unwittingly displaying signals of their generosity and wealth which, in evolutionary terms, are perceived by women as attractive features for a potential sexual partner. Men are more influenced by physical attractiveness”.

I am amazed, just amazed, because this means that blokes go for young sexy birds rather than plain old sheilas. The good professors should do some follow-up research in your average club to discover if more hot young birds are asked if they want a drink or a dance than their ugly, fat old sisters.

“Men put a high emphasis on signals of fertility such as youth and hip-to-waist ratio ,” said Professor Raihani. In English that means when a man runs his discerning eye over a lassie, the chances are that his gaze will linger longer on a good looker.

Another breakthrough conclusion of this study was that people were more likely to donate more if the fundraiser was smiling. I wonder about that as well. I mean who wouldn’t want to donate generously to people who looked like extras from a zombie flick such as “The Night Of The Living Dead”?

And in another landmark study reported in the journal “Evolutionary Psychology”, another British research team has concluded that attractive men are more likely to be selfish and less likely to favour equality.

Quite frankly, that’s nonsense. There’s not a selfish bone in my body and I am quite prepared to believe that a fair number of the womenfolk are about as good as me.

If you think that there are far too many scientific papers of doubtful direct relevance to daily life and its challenges, then you are absolutely spot-on.

In fact, researchers from Universities in the USA and Finland have decided that, “The exponential growth in the number of scientific papers makes it increasingly difficult for researchers to keep track of all of the publications relevant to their work.”

Yes, it took a research project to decide that.


Share your thoughts below.

Russell Grenning

Russell Grenning is a Brisbane-based former journalist and retired political adviser who began his career with the ABC in 1968 in Brisbane and subsequently worked on the Brisbane afternoon daily, "The Telegraph" and later as a columnist for "The Courier Mail" and "The Australian". He worked for a string of senior Ministers in the Federal, Victorian and Queensland Governments as well as in senior executive public relations positions, including Assistant Federal Director, Public Relations, for Australia Post, Public Relations Manager for the Queensland Department of Main Roads and Principal Adviser, Corporate Relations, for the Queensland Law Society.

  1. Sex sells it always has. Perhaps we will take more notice now of just how gorgeous the young women and girls are when they entice you to their booth to get your money for ‘all kinds of things’ never seen an unattractive one yet come to think of it!!!!

  2. the only research I think is even worth it’s salt is medical research….if we put all of our money and resources into medical research just imagine how much further ahead we would be….the rest is just nonsense….

  3. Sorry. Could not read till the end. It is a well written post and I am glad the writer brought this subject up. It never ceases to amaze me how humans can justify spending money and letting the rest of us know just how stupid they really are., all in the name of research. I cannot see any purpose in this study, after all, we of the common people had the common sense to know many decades ago that sex (the female variety) sells just about anything. These people really need to get a life. Oops. I had better get one too instead of telling others what to do.

  4. It never ceases to amaze me that research money can be spent on such twitty subjects while real projects are cancelled for lack of funds.

    What on earth were the idiots who approved the funds for this nonsense thinking of?

  5. Yes well if a nice handsome sexy male was collecting for a charity its highly likely that women would gladly drop coins inhis cup as well …..it works both ways and I didnt have to do a scientific paper to come to this conclusion either…..

  6. Beautiful people can sell anything – male and female because we tend to gravitate towards beauty. Simple really.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *