If you do not have a romantic partner yet, stop gambling or making riskier investments as you may end up losing money, finds an interesting study.
Environmental cues indicate that some people will have a relatively difficult time finding a mate.
“This can drive people to concentrate their investment choices into a few high-risk, high-return options,” said lead study author Joshua Ackerman from the University of Michigan in the US.
“This is true even when the decisions people are making are not explicitly relevant to romantic outcomes,” Ackerman added in the paper, published in a journal of Psychological Science.
Research has shown that people who face uncertain outcomes often diversify their choices as a strategy for mitigating risk — if one investment or option falls through, they still have other investments or options to fall back on.
Ackerman and colleagues speculated that diversification may not be the optimal strategy if romantic success depends on passing above a certain threshold when it comes to resources, status or attractiveness.
Choosing high-risk, high-reward strategies, even in domains unrelated to romance, could help an individual surpass the threshold and stand out from his or her competitors.
The researchers analysed series of studies in which they manipulated the perceived odds of romantic success by presenting participants with information about the ratio of women to men in their area.
In one study, 93 heterosexual participants looked at three photos containing images of men and women aged 18 to 35 who supposedly lived in the local community.
Then participants were asked to imagine that they were buying scratch-off lottery tickets and were told to choose which option they would purchase: one $10 ticket for a $10,000 prize or 10 $1 tickets for $1000 each.
The findings indicated that participants who saw an unfavourable sex ratio were more likely to concentrate their resources on choosing the riskier $10 ticket option than those who saw a favourable sex ratio.
“From an evolutionary perspective, if the options are to do whatever it takes to find a romantic partner or risk not finding one, the more rational choice may be to do whatever it takes,” Ackerman stated.
This research has the potential to affect anyone making decisions with uncertain outcomes, including both single and romantically committed men and women, Ackerman noted.