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Men Are Hardwired to Check Other Women Out, Study Suggests

Update Date: Jun 26, 2013 04:39 PM EDT

Ladies, the next time you catch your man checking other women out, try your best not to get angry.  Scientists say evolution and his genes are the reasons why he has the habit of ogling anything with a skirt.

New research reveals that while women are drawn to male faces that look familiar, men are more likely to be attracted to female faces they have never seen. Psychologists believe men have evolved this way to maximize their reproductive success by mating with as many partners as possible.

Scientists at the University of Stirling and the University of Glasgow came up with this theory after showing men and women pictures of dozens of different faces. 

The findings revealed that the more women saw pictures of the same man's face, the more attracted they were to him. However, the men in the study rated women as less attractive when they saw them for a second time.

The latest study included 83 women and 65 men.  Participants were presented with pictures of five men and five women.  They were then asked to rate each person the picture for attractiveness on a seven-point scale. The participants were shown the pictures a second time, but next to another headshot they had not seen before to provide distraction. Researchers found that women rated the men's face as more attractive the second time they saw them.  However, while men also gave familiar male images a higher score, they rated women as less attractive when there was a new female face to look at.

In another similar experiment, participants were shown facial images and asked to rate them according to trustworthiness and sexiness.  Researchers found that women rated the familiar male faces as more trustworthy and sexy, but men lowered their sexiness ratings for familiar women.

Psychologists say that the findings, published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, may be partly explained by the "Coolidge effect," the phenomenon of men being more aroused by the novelty of a new sexual partner than women.

The "Coolidge effect" is named after an anecdote attributed to the 30th U.S. President Calvin Coolidge.  When President Coolidge and his wife went to visit a farm, his wife was told there was only one cockerel and many hens because the cockerel would mate several times a day. After she heard the story she reportedly said: "Tell that to Mr. Coolidge". However, when the president asked if it was with the same hen each time, and was told no, he allegedly said: "Tell that to Mrs. Coolidge."

Researcher Anthony Little concluded that men found female faces that they had already seen to be less attractive and less sexy, especially for short-term relationships.

"There is a tendency for males to pursue a large number of partners as they can dramatically increase their reproductive success by mating with multiple females," he explained in the study.

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