An Analytical Approach on Why Not to Act Like the Nice Guy

Topics: Psychology, Trait theory, Big Five personality traits Pages: 6 (2160 words) Published: April 11, 2013
An Analytical Approach on Why Not to Act like the Nice Guy
University of South Florida

Author Note
The author is an Undergraduate student at the University of South Florida-Tampa

An Analytical Approach on Why Not to Act like the Nice Guy
Various research studies have been conducted on the multiple facets that lead readers to the conclusion that “nice guys finish first”. These studies focused on the effects of altruism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and cooperation. However, some of the latest research within the realm of social psychology suggests a contradictory conclusion. Taking an innovative approach, these researchers examined what happens when participants engage in a not so cooperative and agreeable manner. This paper examines research from both sides of the spectrum, and if there really is a benefit for the display of a dominant and selfish behavior within the right context in our current world. For clarity sake, the terms dominant and agreeable can be thought of as the personality traits that describe the “bad boy” and the “good guy”. Dominance vs. Agreeableness within Interpersonal Relations

Throughout these days in society it seems as if popular culture has started to inherit the desire for the “Bad Boy” image in not only the dating scene, but the meeting room as well. Let us first investigate how dominance and agreeableness come into play within the dating realm. When it comes to dating, there are two possible routes to pursue. The first route can be thought of as the “short term” approach, focusing on the here and now. This type of dating involves having multiple partners with no intent of becoming emotionally attached and seeking out sexual satisfaction. A vast majority of those who withhold this type of dating ideology are physically attractive and sexy (Gangestad & Thornhill, 1997; Thornhill & Gangestad, 1994). Along with the looks, internal traits often include dominance within a social context (Jobling, 2002; Kruger et al., 2003). On the other end of the spectrum include those who may be interested in a more “long term” style of relationship. Those who partake in this type of dating are usually associated with having fewer, more committed relationship partners (Durante, Griskevicius, Simpson, Cantú, Li, 2012). As expected, those who follow this type of dating style usually withhold opposite characteristics. Such expected characteristics include being less physically attractive and dominant, but being far more agreeable (Gangestad, Garver-Apgar, Simpson, & Cousins, 2007; Lancaster & Kaplan, 1992). Evolutionary Psychology suggests that as humans evolve, the genes that provide a stronger chance for passing on one’s genetic traits are the genes that are passed on to offspring due to natural selection. So in the case of dominance vs. agreeableness within the dating context, one would benefit far more from having a dominant approach if they were concerned with maximizing their reproductive success and passing on their genes. If one were simply searching for a long term relationship, which encompasses other benefits, the agreeable and “nice guy” approach would be a better suit. Research conducted by Ahmetoglu and Swami (2012) was able to take this one step further by providing an insight to how nonverbal physical cues of dominance and agreeableness were able to fluctuate the levels of female attraction. Ahmetoglu et al (2012) claim that although women state a preference for a sensitive and “nice guy” that is rarely their choice, usually ending up with a more dominant man. When examining the effects of posture in regards to a dominant and non-dominant sitting position, the results confirmed their claim. Ahmetoglu et al (2012) stated that “even in this highly controlled experimental setting, slight changes to the posture (i.e., sitting position) of a male significantly increased his levels of attractiveness”. “This indicates that women may use simple nonverbal signals of dominance as...

References: Ahmetoglu, G., Swami, V (2012). Do Women Prefer “Nice Guys”: The Effect of
Male Dominance Behavior on Women’s Ratings of Sexual Attractiveness
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Durante, K. M., Griskevicius, V., Simpson, J. A., Cantú, S. M., & Li, N. P. (2012). Ovulation leads women to perceive sexy cads as good dads. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103(2), 292-305. doi:10.1037/a0028498
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Gangestad, S. W., & Thornhill, R. (1997). Human sexual selection and developmental stability. Evolutionary social psychology (pp. 169–196)
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Thornhill, R., & Gangestad, S. W. (1994). Fluctuating asymmetry correlates with lifetime sex partner numbers and age at first sex in Homosapiens. Psychological Science, 5,(297–302.)doi:10.1111/j.1467- 9280.1994.tb00629.x
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