On the contrary, men find female heroes, both in combat and in disaster zones, less sexually attractive than their non-hero counterparts, the findings showed.

"This provides evidence for the hypothesis that gender differences in inter-group conflict can have an evolutionary origin, as only males seem to benefit from displaying heroism," said co-author of the study Joost Leunissen, psychologist at the University of Southampton.

In the study, 92 women studying in Britain were presented with hypothetical profiles of the opposite sex, representing varying levels of heroism in different contexts such as warfare, sport and business.

Women were more likely to find a soldier attractive, and were more inclined to date him, if he had been awarded a medal for bravery in combat.

Displays of heroism in other fields, such as in sports or in business, also had no effect on how likely women were to find them attractive.

Again, heroism in combat increased women's levels of sexual attraction towards male soldiers, but heroism in a disaster zone had no impact.

Female heroes, both in combat and in disaster zones, were deemed less attractive by men than their non-hero counterparts.


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