Are neurotic women and outgoing men a natural baby-making combo?  The answer is yes, according to one recent study.

Want lots of kids? If you're a man, find yourself a neurotic mate. And if you're a woman, look for a gregarious guy. That’s because extroverted men and needy, anxious women are the most fertile coupling, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers looked at a population in Senegal for the study. That African nation is run a little differently from the U.S. - its residents practice polygamy and typically don’t believe in birth control.

But whether in Senegal or America, extroverted men tend to make more money and presumably have more sex. And more frequent sex leads to more babies.

The findings, says study author Prof. Virpi Lummaa of Sheffield University in the U.K., suggest “that the link between extroversion and number of children in men is driven by the effects of extroversion on the probability of belonging to the high social class.”

Other studies in “low fertility” nations such as the United States, where using contraception is commonplace, confirm the link. This leads Lummaa to theorize that these “effects might be universal across different societies.”

So why do neurotic women make more babies? They tend to have “attachment anxiety” and so are very motivated to have sex with their husbands, according to Lummaa. And among couples not practicing birth control, this means more babies.

Skeptics may wonder whether it's actually having the babies that makes a mom neurotic. Apparently not. The study authors concluded that being neurotic is likely responsible for a woman having many babies, rather than a consequence of having kids.


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