Why We're Attracted To Bad Boys And Girls, According To Science

If you've ever seen someone rocking a leather jacket, tattoos showing, and just generally looking like they would totally break the law, and thought to yourself, "Wow, I'm into that," you're definitely not alone. An attraction to bad boys and is a common trope, and now it seems that science might finally able to explain just what it is that draws us to that IDGAF attitude.

According to a new study of 1,000 straight men and women, people with pathological traits (like neurotic behavior or impulsiveness) have a better chance of finding love. The research — conducted by Fernando Gutiérrez at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona — looked at people with varying degrees of pathological personality traits; some had diagnosed disorders and others had none at all. They then studied factors like their number of romantic partners, number of children each person had, job level, income, and more.

In general, those with certain pathological traits had a higher number of romantic partners, as well as had more children in their lifetime. It might seem counterintuitive: Why would you want to date or procreate with someone who displays erratic or even dangerous behavior? According to the researchers, there might be an evolutionary explanation as to why people considered "pathologically reckless" attract a higher number of partners than those with more "average" personalities.

"While they are selfish, rule-breaking, imprudent and rebellious, they are also brace, temerarious, independent and self-reliant — they live frantic, galvanizing lives," says Gutiérrez. "This captivates many people. This desirability could also have an evolutionary basis."

But the results weren't the same for the male and female participants. For example, female participants exhibiting neurotic behaviors were 34 percent more likely to secure a long-term partner than a male displaying similar behaviors. On the other hand, obsessive compulsive males, but not females, were successful in finding a long-term romantic partner. The study also linked OCD traits to higher income, which Gutiérrez suggests is a plausible explanation for why obsessive compulsive men had more relationship success.

"From a Darwinian viewpoint, money means survival, safeness and resources for the children. They are also serious, reliable and cautious," he says.

So what's the bottom line? The findings of this study suggests that these sort of deviant personality traits might be an evolutionary advantage. But keep in mind that the study size was relatively small — so don't go running off to find a bad boy or girl because "science told you to."

Here are some famous bad boys and girls that we all love to crush on — dating them might still be a bad idea, but hey, at least there is some explanation for why we're all so mysteriously attracted to them.

1. James Dean

The infamous rebel without a cause is obviously the first one on anyone's list of famous bad boys. And who can blame them — just look at that gorgeous, mysterious face.

2. Ruby Rose

Ruby Rose has quickly became the apple of pretty much everyone's eye. Maybe it's the tattoos or just her badass gender fluidity, but Ruby Rose definitely fits the rebel ideal.

3. Johnny Depp

Although he might have grown out of his younger, partying phase, Depp certainly still has the vibe of a classic Hollywood bad boy. No matter how old he gets, Johnny Depp will always be a smoldering grungy '90s bad boy in my heart.

4.Angelina Jolie

Like Depp, Angelina Jolie seems to have left her crazy partying days in the past: Nowadays, she's a well-known humanitarian and loving mother to more children than I can count. However, this badass Hollywood lady will always be fondly remembered as a reformed bad girl.

5. Kanye West

I don't know if extreme narcissism necessarily warrants the label "bad boy," but Yeezy certainly has a less-than-stellar reputation. Even though Kim K has made him crack a smile or two in the last few years, Kanye is definitely not on anyone's list of "Hollywood's fuzziest, nicest people."

6. Lindsay Lohan

Oh, Lindsay. Your antics entertained us all throughout the '00s, so you definitely earned your place on this list. Despite your many shortcomings, you're still an icon to anyone who grew up watching your movies, and we'll always lust after you just a little bit.

7. Russell Brand

His "IDGAF" attitude is probably one of Russell Brand's strongest defining characteristics, and I love him for that. Sure, he's said some crazy things, but at the end of the day, he does and says whatever he wants, and that's a bad boy quality we all love to hate.

8. Rihanna

Duh, Rihanna made this list: Her nickname is literally Bad Gal RiRi. She smokes weed and doesn't give a f*ck who knows it, and she shows off her gorgeous curves without a second thought while exuding confidence and raw sexuality. Bow down, bitches.

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