Men Might be More Predictable

Male species—from humans to sparrows—appear to have more pronounced personalities than their female counterparts, according to new research.

Why could this be? Well, it appears males developed more defined personalities in order to attract a mate, according to the research from the University of Exeter. Consistent personality traits, such as aggression and daring, are more important to females when looking for a mate than they are to males, the study suggests.

The research, published in the journal Biological Reviews, drew upon several studies since 1972 to examine the role of sexual selection in the differences of male and female species. The study found that in most species, the males show more consistent, predictable behaviors, particularly in relation to parental care, aggression, and risk-taking. Females, on the other hand, are more likely to vary their behavior.

A concept originally developed by Charles Darwin, sexual selection is the theory that evolutionary traits can be explained by competition between one sex (usually male) for mates, according to results of the research published on the university’s Web site. The research noted that physical attributes resulting from sexual selection—such as peacocks tails and antler horns—are well known, but there is less known about the impact on personality.

The researchers concluded that males are more likely to be selected as mates if they are consistent in any behavior that would be beneficial to a partnership and its offspring. That includes finding food or seeing off predators.

“This body of research suggests that male personality could have evolved in much the same way as signs of physical attractiveness—to help attract a mate,” said Sasha Dall of the University of Exeter.