For women looking for help carrying groceries to the car or seeking the shelter of an umbrella in a sudden downpour, the most effective weapon might be waiting in the shoe closet -- a pair of high heels. That's according to a new study out of France that found men are more apt to offer a helping hand to women wearing high heels.
In one of a series of social experiments, researchers found men were more likely to fill out a survey on a city sidewalk from women wearing high heels than women wearing flat shoes. They were also more likely to help women in high heels pick a dropped glove, as well as strike up a conversation in a bar. The strength of the men's willingness to help even corresponded positively to the height of the heels.
The responses of women to a dropped glove or surveyor in need of respondents was unaffected by shoe types.
"Women's shoe heel size exerts a powerful effect on men's behavior," concluded lead researcher Nicolas Gueguen, a psychology professor at the University of Southern Brittany in France.
Gueguen said the results compliment previous work showing that a man's behavior and interactions with the opposite sex is highly influenced by a woman's physical appearance and attributes. But it was only the second study to look specifically at the effects of shoes on male behavior.
The study was published online this week in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.