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Being environmentally friendly is more attractive to prospective partners

22/06/2021
Being environmentally friendly is more attractive to prospective partners

A research study, which involved expertise from the University of Wolverhampton, has found that being environmentally friendly could make you more desirable to prospective partners, particular when looking for someone to have a long-term relationship with.

The psychological study ‘The value of pro-environmental behaviour in mate choice’, led by Dr Daniel Farrelly from the University of Worcester and supported by Dr Manpal Singh Bhogal from the University of Wolverhampton, also found that both heterosexual men and women are more likely to report that they engage in pro-environmental behaviours in the presence of an attractive member of the opposite sex.

Dr Bhogal said: “Pro-environmental behaviours can be defined as any behaviour that does minimal harm to, or indeed benefits, the environment.

“Because of this it’s seen as a prosocial behaviour, which are behaviours that benefit other people or society as a whole, such as volunteering and helping others.

“In previous studies, it’s been seen that prosocial behaviours are desirable in potential partners in heterosexual relationships, especially for women when looking for a male long term partner.

“This is most likely because they are wanting to see evidence that they will have a personality that will make them a good life partner, and potentially father to their children.

“Research hasn’t previously explored if the individual prosocial behaviour of being pro-environmental has an impact of partner perception, so this was a unique piece of research to work on.”

While pro-environmental behaviours were important when looking for long-term partners, the researchers found that it didn’t have such a heavy waiting when selecting partners for short-term relationships.

This engagement in pro-environmental behaviours could also signal care and consideration for future offspring, as environmental behaviour increases the chances of a better world for current and for future generations.

In comparison, being less considerate for the environment, for example frequently using take-away coffee cups and single-use plastic water bottles, would make someone less attractive as a prospective long-term partner, but wasn’t so important for short-term relationships,

Dr Farrelly added: “A key environmental task for policy makers relates to promoting and increasing societal engagement with pro-environmental behaviour.

“Here we find that, firstly, people are attracted to those who engage in pro-environmental behaviours, and, secondly, that mate choice motivation can promote pro-environmental behaviour as a means to increase an individual’s desirability.

“Therefore, these findings could be applied to actual real world environmental behaviours and also advertising initiatives for companies wishing to maximise sales of green products which aim to reduce our impact on our environment or policy makers wanting to promote positive behavioural change in terms of issues such as sustainability.”

For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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