For the men out there seeking the decoder key to unlocking the secrets behind what women are thinking -- or what their body language is trying to tell you -- a new study isn't going to give them much hope in figuring it out.
The Indiana University study, published in the January issue of Psychological Science, shows that women are more likely to appear to show interest in a potential mate, even when they're not that interested.
It included 28 women and 26 men of college age who watched video clips of couples interacting on speed dates. After watching 24 videos, the participants rated how they felt the couples reacted to each other.
In the end, it turns out that the women were much more cagey about the situation.
"The hardest-to-read women were being misperceived at a much higher rate than the hardest-to-read men. Those women were being flirtatious, but it turned out they weren't interested at all," said lead author Skyler Place, a doctoral student in IU's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. "Nobody could really read what these deceptive females were doing, including other women."
Place points to "evolutionary theory" as the reason behind a women's deceptive coyness, because she has more to lose if the relationship goes to pot, mainly, a potential pregnancy and the cost of raising a child alone.
"Women happen to be four times better than men at reading social cues, so they ought to be superior at spotting that future behavior," Dobransky said.
But does that study accurately reflect the street? When was the last time those researchers were in a nightclub? A club is one of the only places where accepted social mores go out the window. A guy can walk up to a woman in bar, introduce himself, and she might stare straight ahead, stone-faced, and pretend he's not even there. Or she might give him a half glance and a condescending smirk to let him know he needs to fish elsewhere.
Rude? No question. But a lot of women resort to this behavior because if she shows even a glimmer of interest, this guy may not leave her alone for the rest of the night, so she has to be firm. That guy isn't giving up his spot because there's a handful of other dudes watching the whole interaction, and waiting to pounce if he leaves.
And you wonder why men get so confused when it comes to matters of the heart?
Click here to participate in an online version of the research study.