Women pursue careers over fears of not finding a husband: study
The final experiment tested the researchers' suspicion that less attractive women would be more interested in careers because they might find it difficult to secure a partner.
The 87 young women were given mocked-up newspaper articles describing the sex ratio in nearby university campuses and were asked about their views on family and career.
They were also asked how attractive they believed themselves to be to men.
Those women who saw themselves as being less desirable than average were highly likely to be career-orientated.
"Does the ratio of men to women in a local population influence women's career aspirations? Real-world archival data and a series of laboratory experiments suggest that the answer is yes," the Daily Mail quoted Kristina Durante, researcher, from the University of Texas at San Antonio, as saying.
In Britain, the number of young men is slightly more than women.
However, females aged 36 or older are in the majority. And at universities, female undergraduates now outnumber males.
Economist Ruth Lea said that on a basic level it made sense that women would have to support themselves if the odds of being supported were low.
However, she said many factors, from aptitude to ambition, played a much larger part in a woman's career path.
"I often find that women who were getting on well in the workplace will in private conversations with me, express wanting to settle down," Pam Spurr, agony aunt, said.