Those brooding eyes, that smug expression and confident swagger – it’s enough to make your heart skip a beat. ‘Bad boys’ like James Dean, Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell have been making women swoon on screen, and in real life, for decades. Whether or not you’ve fallen for a bad boy, chances are you've been attracted to at least one. A new study from the University of British Columbia finds proud, brooding men to be more attractive to women than men who are smiling.

In the study, about 1,000 participants viewed photos of the opposite sex displaying common emotions such as happiness, pride and shame. Participants then rated each photo on a scale of one to nine based on sexual attractiveness. Smiling, happy men were actually found to be the least attractive by women in the study, while the opposite was true for men, who rated the photos of smiling women as most attractive.

Explaining the evolutionary appeal and attractiveness of proud men, Jessica Tracy, UBC psychologist and lead study author, told the Toronto Star, “Pride conveys high status, strength, power (and) these are all pretty good things to have in a mate.”

But why the attraction to bad boy types, who very often don’t provide the support and security desired in a relationship? According to Tracy, the photos of men with brooding expressions may elicit a desire in women to ‘fix’ the bad boy. And who doesn't want to be the girl that finally changed him?

Do these findings help explain any of your past crushes? Or are you surprised by the results of this study?

Related:
Are we genetically programmed to fall in love?
The things men do for love
Sexually mismatched?