Gloomy skies aren’t for everyone, but if we can believe a recent study, they brighten the romantic prospects for a certain type of male.
In an article in Personality and Individual Differences, a team of European researchers concludes that “Machiavellians” fare better with women on cloudy days than the less-duplicitous competition.
The researchers call it the “Veil of Darkness” hypothesis; they link the term Machiavellian (which gives us pause, by the way) with “immoral, pragmatic, and cynical thinking.”
In the study, 59 single, heterosexual men were commissioned to try to put the moves on 1,395 women on the street, while stealth female observers took notes on the women’s responses.
For compensation, the men received feedback on their attractiveness qualities, and if they could approach 25 women in five hours, 25 Euro, or about $32, .
Under the rules, the men were to target only “women they wanted to know better.”
About half the encounters that made the cut in the study occurred on cloudy days, and the other half when it was sunny.
The SparkNotes: Those identified as Machiavellian types fared way better in the encounters than the other males.
An aside: We don’t think that Machiavelli, hiimself, would prosper from the cloud effect.
We hold with those who say that Machiavelli wasn’t necessarily Machiavellian. In his most famous work, The Prince
, he merely shared observations about human behavior and advice to the powerful.
We’re not so sure how serious he was; to us he came across as the possessor of one of the driest senses of humor in literature.
As far as we can tell, however, the German and Austrian researchers who authored the study were quite serious.