Study shows persistence pays off in the mating game

(Medical Xpress) -- A new study co-authored by a University of Texas at Austin psychology professor suggests that self-deception may help men succeed in the mating game, while women will benefit more from effective communication.

David Buss, professor of psychology, and psychology graduate student Judith Easton, both of The University of Texas at Austin, conducted the research with Williams College psychologist Carin Perilloux, senior author of the study. The findings will appear in an upcoming issue of , a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science.

The research, conducted at The University of Texas at Austin, involved 103 female and 96 male undergraduates who were asked to rate their own attractiveness on a scale of 1 to 7 before participating in a "speed-meeting" exercise in which the students had three-minute, one-on-one conversations with five members of the opposite sex. After each conversation, they rated the other person's and perceived . Participants were also assessed for their level of desire for a short-term with each person with whom they interacted.

Men looking for a "quick hook-up" were more likely to overestimate a woman's desire for them, researchers found. Men who thought of themselves as attractive also overestimated a woman’s desire for them. Indeed, the more attractive the woman was to the man, the more likely he was to overestimate her interest in him.

Men who were actually considered attractive according to the women's rankings did not seem to have this discrepancy in evaluating the situation. Interestingly, women tended to show a bias opposite that of most men — they consistently underestimated men's sexual interest in them.

In terms of human evolution, it is likely that ancestral men who overestimated their appeal to women and pursued them — even at the risk of being rebuffed — were more likely to reproduce and pass along this tendency to "over perceive" to genetic heirs.

The research suggests that women should be as communicative and clear as possible, while men should consider that the more attracted they are to a woman, the more likely they are wrong about her interest.

Related Stories

All it takes is a smile (for some guys)

Dec 13, 2011

Does she or doesn't she...? Sexual cues are ambiguous, and confounding. We—especially men—often read them wrong. A new study hypothesizes that the men who get it wrong might be the ones that evolution has favored. ...

The ugly truth about one night stands

Aug 11, 2009

Men are far more interested in casual sex than women. While men need to be exceptionally attractive to tempt women to consider casual sex, men are far less choosy. These findings by Dr Achim Schützwohl, from the Department ...

Recommended for you

YouTube as peer support for severe mental illness

Oct 17, 2014

People with severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or bipolar disorder use a popular social media website like YouTube to provide and receive naturally occurring peer support, Dartmouth researchers ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Squirrel
3.9 / 5 (7) Dec 23, 2011
The problem with this research is that prior to the last few centuries nearly all children were born from arranged marriages. This the case in hunter-gatherer and agrarian societies. Factors affecting how parents rate prospective partners for their offspring are moreover likely to have shaped our genes than those affecting speed dating.
Sinister1811
1 / 5 (2) Dec 23, 2011
Luck seems to pay off more than anything. Persistence (at least, for some of us) seems to be futile.
Vendicar_Decarian
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 23, 2011
So in other words, despite the court order, RyggTard should continue to send those boxes of chocolates, and contine make those late night phone calls to Sarah Palin.

http://0.tqn.com/d/politicalhumor/1/0/p/G/2/palin-armed.jpg
DrJLD
not rated yet Dec 23, 2011
The problem with the first message is that the article talks only about attraction and how people rate their attractiveness and how they rate others' attraction to us.

Of course there are many other factors, including genetics, at work in selecting a partner. The authors of the study only looked at one of the factors.