From the archives at Maniac High's Seduction Website:

Interesting story on social proof!

Subject: Article on social-proof!]
Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2000 05:11:04 GMT

Got this in my inbox.. was quite interesting so reposting here.



Ugly Urges - Why women flock to mediocre men
December 13, 2000 By Adam Pasik

The Billy Joel Syndrome is one of the great social science mysteries:
do beautiful women sometimes fall for not-so-good-looking guys?

For the answer, says Dr. Lee Alan Dugatkin, look to guppies.

Guppies are the first species in which scientists have observed the
phenomenon of "mate copying": A female guppy is much more likely to
have the hots for a male guppy if other female guppies like him, too.
And it seems humans behave in much the same way.

Dugatkin conducted a study of 60 men and 74 women who were shown
pictures of strangers and asked if they'd like to date them. They
were also given information about whether other men and women,
respectively, found the strangers attractive.

"Unsurprisingly, the male and female subjects both liked attractive
people," says Dugatkin, a professor at the University of Louisville.
"But females weighed the opinions of other females much more highly
than the men did."

Women also described the guys they preferred in the pictures as more
wealthy, funny and personable - even though they had never met them.

"When humans see their peers flock around someone, they may wonder
what the fuss is all about," the study says.

In other words, Dugatkin says, mate copying "could lead a female to
go out with a physically unattractive male because other females
said they'd go out with him." After all, he must have something
going for him. Right?

Crudely put, Dugatkin's research suggests if you go out even once
with an exceptionally attractive babe - say, Christie Brinkley,
Joel's ex-wife - you may be set for life in the romance department.

It's not that women are lemmings when it comes to getting a date.
Rather, their behavior is strongly rooted in evolutionary

"Using other females' information is an expression of women being
choosy," Dugatkin says. "From an evolutionary perspective, females
should be the choosier sex; they have more to lose. If a female
makes a mistake and chooses the wrong mate, she'll be out of
commission for nine months. And if one parent leaves, it's almost
always the male."

So if a woman doesn't have much information to go on when sizing up
potential mates, she'll probably prefer the guys that other women
want to get busy with.

Back to Billy for a minute. Since he and the Uptown Girl divorced,
how has he done in the romance department?

Pretty well. His current relationship is with local television news
anchor Trish Bergin, who would rate pretty high on most men's
attractiveness scales. Oh, and by the way: Joel was introduced to
Bergin by Bergin's very good friend, Christie Brinkley.

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