Science of Love, Sex, and Babies

Damsel in distress? Go blond.

Posted in news by jenapincott on December 12, 2009


Do blondes get picked up more than brunettes? The question can be taken literally, as evidenced in psychologist Nicolas Gueguen’s latest study* on female hitchhikers. A specialist in the nuances of courtship and attraction, Gueguen wanted to know if a woman is more likely to be offered a ride or other assistance if she goes blond. All else being equal, do light-haired hitchhikers get more lifts?

Gurguen recruited five women in their early twenties (all natural brunettes) to stand, one at a time, by the side of a road popular with hitchhikers in France. Their job was to try to get motorists to pull over. Each woman was equipped with three wigs, blond, brunette, and black, which she was instructed to rotate every time forty cars had passed. When a car stopped, she (and two independent observers) kept a record of what color wig she was wearing and whether the driver was male or female.

Drivers prefer blondes, it turns out. Blond hair, compared with brown or black hair, inspired a statistically larger proportion of drivers to stop and offer assistance (18% for blondes vs 14% and 13% for brunettes and women with black hair respectively). Interestingly, this was true only of male drivers. Female drivers, who stopped less frequently for hitchhikers, showed no hair color bias.

Gueguen attributes a greater attractiveness of blond hair color to men’s willingness to help blondes. As described in BLONDES, blond hair may be associated with female youth, health, and fertility. Because fair-haired hitchhikers may appear younger, they may come across as more vulnerable or less of a threat.

Blond hair is also more eye-catching than other shades, so drivers may be more likely to notice blond hitchhikers. But why would more male than female drivers offer rides to blondes if sexual attraction didn’t have something to do with it?

For various reasons, slightly more drivers appear to prefer blondes. But are they gentlemen? That remains in question.

***
Nicolas Gueguen’s studies are good fun. In BLONDES I reported on his fascinating research on the power of touch in a courtship context. I’ve also blogged about Gurguen’s studies on whether makeup is more likely to attract men; whether dog owners attract more dates (and whether breed makes a difference); how priming men to think about love changes their behavior; whether asking a woman a small favor makes her more likely to give him her number later; and whether cup size helps a female hitchhikers get picked up.

* to be published in Perceptual and Motor Skills, 2009, 109, 3, 1-8.

6 Responses

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  1. Fiyola Hoosen said, on December 12, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    So blondes do seems to have more fun! What about red heads, do they fall somewhere between the brunette and black heads or are they just entirely forgotten?

    • jenapincott said, on December 12, 2009 at 9:00 pm

      Unfortunately, the study didn’t include redheads. Gueguen explains this at the end of the study:

      This experiment had some limitations. Only blonde, brown, and black
      colors were tested, not red hair color; in France, red hair color occurs in
      about 4% and is sometimes associated with negative connotations.
      One could add a test for this color associated with drivers’ behavior.

  2. Kara Knittel said, on February 3, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    The Net is a handy tool for life when employed in this manor. As opposed to when it is utilized as a source of entertainment. Merci

  3. Albert Neshem said, on March 11, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Yet another interesting entry, keep em coming!

  4. WSIC EBooks Ltd. said, on July 15, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Looking for sexual freedom or something to give you some ideas. Are wanting to spice up your life. http://www.wsicebooks.com has the answer for you. Trixie T ebook is almost ready to go and if this book does not spice up your life or give you ideas on how to do so, you need to check your pulse. A sample of Trixie’s ebooks visit our site.

  5. Kevin Brubeck said, on November 17, 2010 at 3:58 am

    i really like to color my hair and i would love to try different hair colors specially auburn “*


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