Ladies! If you need any help online, men would be at your service, for a new study shows that males tend to compete with each other when it comes to being generous to women online.
Nichola Raihani of University College London (UCL) said that people are really generous and were right to say most of the time, that their motives for giving to charity were not self-serving. However, this does not preclude these motives from having evolved to benefit the donor in some way.
The researchers were quite surprised at how clear it was from their real-world data that people, and particularly men, engage in "competitive helping."
In the study, Raihani and Sarah Smith of the University of Bristol relied on a large, UK-based, online fundraising platform to test a key prediction of the competitive helping hypothesis: that males respond competitively to the generosity bids of other males in the presence of attractive females. On the platform, people host fundraising pages including their personal information--name, photo, charity, and the event they are being sponsored for--and collect donations, mostly from people they know. Donations are made and posted sequentially, along with the name of the donor.
Raihani said that they didn't think males saw large donations from other males to attractive female fundraisers, and then decided to donnate thinking the female would find them more attractive.
It was more likely that humans has an evolved psychology that motivated to behave in ways that would have been, on average, adaptive in our evolutionary past, and may still be nowadays also, she added.
The findings do suggest ways to improve the success of fundraising campaigns. First of all, fundraisers should smile. The attractiveness ratings of female fundraisers had a lot to do with their facial expression. And it may pay off to seed a campaign with larger donations early.
The study is reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology.