Men are more likely to settle down, marry and have children in a society where they outnumber women, a study shows.
Rather than being filled with risk-taking and violent behaviour as might have been expected, a world with more men than women is actually more stable and calm.
Psychologists believe this is because when women are scarce, some men become better husbands and fathers in a bid to maintain their relationships amid increased competition for partners.
Dr Jon Maner, professor of psychology at Florida State University, said: “When men outnumber women in a given ecology, intuition might suggest that rates of violent crime would skyrocket, marriages would destabilise and many children would be born out of wedlock.
“Intriguingly, the opposite has been observed.”
Rather than taking risks or acting violently, Dr Maner said: “Another way men can compete with one another is by being quicker to settle down with one woman, get married and really devote himself more fully to having kids and being a good parent.
“[But] if he isn’t able to find a partner, you might find increased violence, risk-taking and competition with other men.”
Dr Maner explained: “When there is an imbalance in sex ratios, whichever sex is in the majority faces a lot more competition.
“Men and women shift their strategy toward the typical mating strategy of the other gender.”
When there are more women than men, they adopt behaviour considered typically male. They have more casual relationships and are less likely to marry.
The study was published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences.
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