According to one French and one Israeli study, women find a man more attractive if he's holding a guitar in his hands, which seems to indicate that "male musicians are viewed as promising mating material."
Together, these results provide evidence supporting the sexual selection theory of music the notion that music grew out of early courtship rituals, and is thus strongly related to mating. (For an alternate theory of why humans started keeping time and humming tunes, see here.) But they dont answer the question of precisely why a musical instrument would increase a mans attractiveness.
The French researchers offer some theories. Playing music is perhaps associated with physical and intellectual abilities, they write good qualities in a prospective mate. It also implies a work ethic, or at least a willingness to practice. In addition, the image of a guitar (or its case) may bring to mind the image of successful musical stars, and imprint on a womans mind the attractive concepts of wealth and status.
Perhaps the most intriguing explanation was given by researchers Vanessa Sluming and John Manning in a much-discussed paper published in 2000. They provided preliminary evidence of a link between musical prowess and prenatal exposure to testosterone. Testosterone enhances the growth of the right hemisphere, and may facilitate musical ability, they write. If it does so, musical ability then is a signal for male fertilizing ability. (Well, it certainly played that role for J.S. Bach.)
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