An attraction to humans who are kind of jerks seems like a phase we’ve all gone through, right? Did you have dreamy eyes for the dude in your English class with tattoos and a penchant for in-school suspension? Or the girl who drank out of the milk carton and DID NOT CARE how anyone felt about it? Well, there’s science behind your attraction to bad girls and guys.
A new study conducted by Fernando Gutiérrez at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona has found scientific evidence as to why dating or crushing on these rule-breakers make us feel so good.
Gutiérrez and his team studied 1000 heterosexual people with “pathological tendencies” — things like neurotic behavior, a tendency to obsess, and impulsiveness. Some of these tendencies were clinically diagnosed while some were self-described. Other factors like number of romantic partners, number of children each person had, job level, and income were also taken into account, according to the Scientific American.
It appears that those with those pathological traits had a higher number of romantic partners and more children in their lifetime. Are you wondering, “why would someone WANT to date a human with those qualities?” Well, it turns out we’re biologically drawn to more reckless, impulsive people —rather than those who are more methodical.
“While [bad boys] are selfish, rule-breaking, imprudent and rebellious, they are also [brash], temerarious, independent and self-reliant. They live frantic, galvanizing lives,” Gutiérrez says. “This captivates many people. This desirability could also have an evolutionary basis.”
The study found that female participants exhibiting neurotic behaviors were 34% more likely to secure a long-term partner than a male displaying such behaviors. It also found that obsessive compulsive males were successful in finding a long-term romantic partner — but that doesn’t prove true for females. The study also, interestingly, linked OCD traits to higher income. Gutiérrez suggested that as a plausible explanation for why obsessive compulsive men had more relationship success.
And it all basically boils down to financial stability. Those who have these pathological behaviors seem to be more financially successful. “From a Darwinian viewpoint, money means survival, safeness and resources for the children. They are also serious, reliable and cautious,” he says.
However, before you run off to find your next impulsive lady or guy, note this study is pretty small — a thousand people isn’t very many, by far, and it did only study those whom were attracted to the opposite sex. However, you at least have some peace of mind now knowing that your attraction to rebels isn’t just about breaking the rules. It’s about survival.
(Image via Universal Pictures)