Homo Consumericus

The nature and nurture of consumption

Do Attractive Men Have Better Sperm?

The what-is-beautiful-is-good effect.

Many readers might remember the Seinfeld episode wherein Jerry is dating a stunningly beautiful woman named Nikki. He quickly realizes the power that she wields across countless social settings. For example, at one point, Jerry is pulled over by a cop for speeding. He "unleashes" Nikki on the cop who quickly gives up on the idea of issuing a ticket and instead provides them with a verbal warning. Earlier in the episode, Nikki finds a way to get herself and Jerri into a sold out movie by simply chatting with the manager. In the words of George Costanza, "Beautiful women. You know they could get away with murder."

The what-is-beautiful-is-good effect is a pervasive social phenomenon. Generally speaking, it refers to the fact that attractive people receive favorable personality attributions solely as a function of their good looks (see Eagly et al., 1991 for a discussion of factors that affect the strength of this bias). This positive bias manifests itself in other settings wherein one might argue that it should not, such as one's salary.

In my last post, I discussed a recent study that uncovered a positive correlation between a man's IQ and the quality of his sperm. Given today's topic, can it be that handsome men have better quality sperm? Several studies have indeed found a correlation between metrics of phenotypic quality (specifically facial attractiveness, body symmetry, and finger symmetry) and sperm quality (but see the following article for a recent null finding). [To those readers who have an incessant need to remind us that correlations do not imply causality, yes you are right. We get it.] From a sexual selection perspective, it is expected that intelligence and attractiveness are likely to have a positive effect on the reproductive fitness of those individuals possessing such traits. One way by which this differential advantage might play out is via the higher quality sperm of such men. An instantiation of what evolutionists refer to as sperm wars. Intriguing idea.

Some of you might recall an earlier post wherein I discussed why Stephen Colbert is considered to be so sexy. He happens to be both intelligent and handsome. Hence, according to the results discussed in my last two posts, he is likely to possess some powerful "super sperm." Perhaps this is why he peddles so feverishly his Formula 401 "premium man juice" (as he refers to it). What a humanitarian!

Ciao for now.

Source for Image:
http://gallery.nofactzone.net/albums/userpics/formula_401.JPG

Gad Saad is Professor of Marketing at Concordia University and author of The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption and The Consuming Instinct.

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