Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Guppies, an apt analog for human behavior
Researchers studying "the obvious" in London have spent millions to conclude what anybody who's ever been in a bar can tell you anecdotally: people hang out with people they think are less good looking than them, in order to appear more attractive to the opposite sex by comparison.
Using guppies as human analogs, they showed that brightly colored male guppies, when exposed to a female in an adjacent tank, would swim nearer to a dull-colored guppy rather than hang out with another brightly colored one.
From an evolutionary standpoint, every human behavioral choice can be explained by asking, "Which is more likely to make my DNA included in the next generation"? There is a symbiosis that occurs between an attractive female and an comparatively unattractive female of the same species in the presence of males. The perceived "pretty" female benefits by insuring she gets the most attractive/successful male, while the "less pretty" female receives more attention from other attractive males by hanging out with the "pretty" female, than she would on her own.
It's probably unromantic to point out the dry evolutionary basis for amorous human behavior the day before Valentine's Day, but the science doesn't lie.