Assessment of Male Physical Risk-Taking Behavior in a Sample of Russian Men and Women

Abstract

Research has documented sex differences in risk-taking behavior, and young men in particular are more prone than women to engage in activities associated with physical risks. Evolutionary scientists have proposed that this sex difference is a consequence of male competition over mating opportunities. Thus, mating motives promote risk-taking in men more than in women. Here, we report analyses of assessments of male physical risk-taking in a Russian sample (n = 546). Men and women judged vignettes describing men who differed in risk-taking propensity for short- and long-term attractiveness, provisioning quality, and aggression. Risk-taking propensity had an effect on all attributes. Occasional (but not high) risk-takers received the highest ratings on short-term attractiveness. Low risk-takers were judged highest on long-term attractiveness and provisioning quality. High risk-takers were judged as more aggressive than occasional and low risk-takers. Thus, male risk-taking behavior affects assessments of male quality, but high risk-taking is not regarded as positive. We discuss the results with reference to evolutionary investigations of risk-taking behavior and cultural characteristics of masculinity ideology.

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Funding

This research was supported by a grant from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), grant no. 17-29-02203, and by the German Research Foundation grant no. FI1450/7-2. This study was conducted within the scope of the program of fundamental studies of the National Research University High School of Economics.

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Correspondence to Yulia Apalkova.

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Apalkova, Y., Butovskaya, M.L., Bronnikova, N. et al. Assessment of Male Physical Risk-Taking Behavior in a Sample of Russian Men and Women. Evolutionary Psychological Science 4, 314–321 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40806-018-0140-1

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Keywords

  • Risk-taking
  • Perception
  • Attractiveness
  • Aggression
  • Provisioning quality
  • Men
  • Russia