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Science Reveals Why Women Like Bad Boys

Details logo Details 11/14/2015 Hannah Ongley
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There's a reason why women are attracted to bad boys, and it's not (just) their sweet leather jackets. It's science.

Apparently, people with "pathological" personalities are simply more attractive to the opposite sex. The new study, carried out by a team of researchers at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona and published on Scientific American, analyzed 1,000 heterosexual men and women with a broad spectrum of pathological personality traits. Researchers also quizzed the participants on their lifetime "number" of sexual partners and how successful they were in their careers.

Both men and women with personalities such as neurotic and reckless reported a higher number of both mates and children, though only obsessive-compulsive males—not females—were successful at pinning down long-term partners. According to Fernando Gutiérrez, who led the study, this is likely because obsessive-compulsives earned much more money than other participants. Far more surprising was that neurotic women were more successful in long-lasting love, despite being seen as unstable, anxious, and insecure.

Gutiérrez believes women like deviant behavior simply because it's fascinating. “While [pathological men] are selfish, rule-breaking, imprudent, and rebellious, they are also brave, temerarious, independent, and self-reliant—and they live frantic, galvanizing lives,” he says.

Of course, the study has its limits.

“Respondents could have inflated the number of partners in an effort to depict themselves as more desirable," says Corinna E. Löckenhoff, a human-developmental psychologist at Cornell University. "This may be especially true for individuals whose personality characteristics make them prone to dishonesty and for male respondents, since cultural norms tend to view promiscuity [as] more favorable in men than in women."

In other words, you can't trust anyone to give their accurate "number," let alone psychos.

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