Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Babies flick anti-risk ‘switch’ in women but not men

18.04.2012
Unlike women, men don’t curb certain risk-taking behaviours when a baby is present, a new psychology study at the University of Warwick suggests.

Whereas women are significantly more cautious when they are partnered with small children in a gambling game measuring their attitude to risk, men don’t substantially alter their willingness to take a chance.

Researchers suggested this could be due to evolutionary forces that select for men who are more competitive and risk-seeking in order to establish status and women who are more risk-averse in order to protect their offspring.

Scientists at the University of Warwick and the University of Basel observed students playing a gambling game while alone and while paired with either an image of an attractive man, woman or baby with whom they imagined they would share their winnings.

A second less surprising finding of the study was that men took more risks when partnered with other men – consistent with theories suggesting that men are driven to compete with other men in order to maximise their reproductive opportunities.

However men did not increase their risk-taking behaviour when paired with a woman, a fact researchers believed was down to the co-operative design of the game where participants shared their winnings with their partner.

This particular finding has parallels in the real world where studies have shown that men in committed relationships show less risky behaviour as they no longer need to compete with other males to gain a woman’s attention.

Dr Thomas Hills of the Department of Psychology at the University of Warwick said: “To our knowledge this is the first study to look directly at the effect of babies on male and female risk-taking.

“Our attitudes to risk form a big part of our personality and determine our behaviour in all sorts of areas – for example how we approach financial investments or what leisure activities we indulge in.

“Even though the women in the study were not the mothers of the babies they paired with, just having a baby involved in the game was enough to substantially change their behaviour.

“It’s as if babies turn off women’s a willingness to take a risk – but interestingly the same doesn’t apply to men.”

The study The baby effect and young male syndrome: social influences on co-operative risk-taking in women and men was published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.

Eighty undergraduate students (40 male and 40 female) took part in the study.

The participants accumulated cash while pumping up a computer-simulated balloon which could explode randomly at any moment.

As the game progressed, participants had to decide whether to stop pumping and “bank” the winnings – or whether to continue and risk the balloon exploding and all the cash being lost.

Anna Blackaby | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.warwick.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>