“Mate-choice copying,” when an individual finds potential partners more attractive when they have already been chosen by someone else, happens across the animal kingdom. In birds and fish species, it helps females select high-quality males, and provides an evolutionary advantage.
In humans, this theory suggests women like taken men because they are probably kind and faithful, and thus good partners. However, the new research suggests this might not be what’s going on, as women also increased their scores of the abstract works of art when they saw other women had scored them as more attractive.
Also, including lesbian and bisexual women in the experiment didn’t change the results. This suggests any woman could be influenced by others’ opinions, regardless of whether they were seeking a mate or not.