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For most of us, photography isn't something we do for attention. It's a personal, introspective hobby that can, at times, be deeply nerdy. But according to a new study, that doesn't mean it can't be sexy.
In a blog post at Scientific American, lead researcher Scott Barry Kaufman—Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute at the University of Pennsylvania's Positive Psychology Center—laid out the results of the study, which was designed to pick out the most (and least) sexy creative behaviors. To create the lists, Kaufman's team polled 815 "ethnically diverse" participants (696 females and 119 males) using a battery of online surveys.
Here's how Kaufman's team described the question:
"Let’s face it: creativity is sexy. People all over the world list creativity as a desirable quality in a mate, and people who are more creative across domains—including the arts, music, and humor—report more sexual partners than less creative individuals. [...] But are all creative behaviors equally sexually attractive [...] to members of the opposite sex?"
In a word, "No."
The Sexiest Creative Behaviors
- Playing sports
- Taking a date on a spontaneous road trip
- Recording music
- Making a clever remark
- Writing music
- Performing in a band
- The taking of artistic photographs
- Performing in comedy
- Dressing in a unique style
- Writing poetry
Creativity through music is the clear winner here, taking three of the top six spots. Still, we photographers and can take pride in our #7 slot. After all, realistically, how often do people compare John Mayer to Ansel Adams? We're just happy we beat out comedians and poets.
The Least Sexy Creative Behaviors
- Making ad campaigns
- Interior decorating
- Writing an original computer program
- Making websites
- Growing and gardening
- Presenting scientific or mathematical papers
- Exterior decorating
- Applying math in an original way to solve a practical problem
- The development of scientific experimental designs
- Participating in drama productions
As Kaufman put it, "ornamental/aesthetic forms of creativity were considered more sexually attractive than applied/technological forms of creativity." That was bad news for the researchers themselves, with "Presenting scientific or mathematical papers" ranking as the sixth least sexy creative endeavor.
Still, there's a silver lining: Kaufman points out that “assertive mating”–or "like attracts likes"–is a real thing, even when it comes to academic research. Or, in plain English, there's somebody out there for everybody. Aww.
For all the nerdy details, you can check out Kaufman et al's deeply un-sexy scientific paper here.