'He loves me, he loves me not...': Women are more attracted to men whose feelings are unclear

Feb 07, 2011

Are you still looking for a date for Valentine's Day? Here's some dating advice straight from the laboratory: It turns out there may be something to "playing hard to get." A study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that a woman is more attracted to a man when she is uncertain about how much he likes her.

On the one hand, a lot of psychological research has found that person A usually likes person B about as much as they think person B likes them. "If we want to know how much Sarah likes Bob, a good predictor is how much she thinks Bob likes her," write the authors of the paper, Erin R. Whitchurch and Timothy D. Wilson of the University of Virginia and Daniel T. Gilbert of Harvard University. "But what if Sarah is not sure how much Bob likes her?" This might lead Sarah to spend a lot of time thinking about Bob, wondering how he feels, and she might find him more attractive the more she dwells on him.

Forty-seven female undergraduates at the University of Virginia participated in the study. Each student, who believed that the experiment was designed to study whether Facebook could work as an online dating site, was told that male students from two other universities had viewed her profile and those of 15 to 20 other females. Then the women were shown four men's Facebook profiles that they thought were real, but were actually fictitious. Some of the women were told they'd seen the four who liked them the most; others were told these were four men who rated them about average. A third group were told the men could be either the ones who liked them most or the ones who liked them about average—so those women didn't know about the level of the men's interest in them.

As other research has found, women who believed the men liked them a lot were more attracted to the men than women who thought the men liked them only an average amount. However, the women who found the men most attractive were the ones who weren't sure whether those men were into them or not.

"Numerous popular books advise people not to display their affections too openly to a potential romantic partner and to instead appear choosy and selective," the authors write. in this study made their decisions based on very little information on the men—but in a situation not unlike meeting someone on an internet , which is common these days. "When people first meet, it may be that popular dating advice is correct: Keeping people in the dark about how much we like them will increase how much they think about us and will pique their interest."

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User comments : 11

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amy_fitzhenry
1 / 5 (2) Feb 07, 2011
Makes sense, but I still believe that "intermittent reinforcement" is the best way to keep people interested. I'd love to see an experiment on that.

For more info on my relationship theory that "random rewards is the way to keep people hooked", check out my blog, www.datingmryuck .com/blog/
xrisxs
not rated yet Feb 07, 2011
If a woman were to know too much of a man then she also knows that other women also know the same information.
braindead
4.3 / 5 (4) Feb 07, 2011
"Treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen."
Looks like the old adage was right then.
trekgeek1
5 / 5 (3) Feb 07, 2011
"Treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen."
Looks like the old adage was right then.


I've never believed that. I'm married and never treat my wife badly. However, I'm seriously starting to think it is actually true. I'm a nice guy by nature, so I'd never be able to use this even if I was single. I also think the whole premise is just an awful way to approach women. But observation doesn't lie, and it seems that most women are inherently mean and cruel towards nice guys. So maybe they deserve to be attracted to mean guys who treat them like they treated the nice guys. I've seen many instances of females berating men, but significantly fewer instances of men berating women in public. I think for being the fairer sex, women are actually very mean.
GrantFromOxford
not rated yet Feb 08, 2011
Interesting study. I wonder if there's are age and cultural related dimensions to this also.
orsr
not rated yet Feb 08, 2011
The more the woman thinks abouth the guy's level of interest in her, the more likely she is to slip into the world of creating platonic ideals of the guy maybe?
xrisxs
not rated yet Feb 08, 2011
If a womaen tiger goes out and gets the dinner then it is the women who needs the fight. Also if they can have a child and endure labor then they are already programmed somewhere to invite the pain. I have never known a man to ask for it dirty, but i have known a few women who crave it.
Moebius
3 / 5 (1) Feb 08, 2011
How true it is. Women will go for the guy that doesn't want them and ignore the guy that does if they aren't desperate or think they have a choice, every time. I wonder why it's true though? Can you spell evolution?

The way to a woman's heart that is ambivalent (if there is a way at all) is to ignore her somewhat. NEVER act too interested, 100% failure if she thinks she can have someone else who isn't that interested. Never buy them anything, don't hold the door for them, don't be too courteous, don't be interested in what they have to say, treat them like a doormat and they will go for you over the guy that doesn't follow the above advice. And then they wonder why they don't get the kind of guy they want. LOL Am I cynical? Maybe, but it works. Oh, and you know how they always say they want a guy with a sense of humor? Try to be humorous on the first few dates and see where it gets you.
AlwaysRight
5 / 5 (3) Feb 08, 2011
I wonder if there is any correlation between the sympathetic comments and the amount of girls the commenters pick up.
trekgeek1
not rated yet Feb 09, 2011
I wonder if there is any correlation between the sympathetic comments and the amount of girls the commenters pick up.


Age: 25
My method: Kind, polite, funny.
My results: 1 woman, 6 years, no "breaks".
Conclusion: Worked on one exceptionally kind woman. Effectiveness on multiple women- unknown.
Dantheman
5 / 5 (1) Feb 26, 2011
Just like little kids, women are attracted to something they can't have. Women like mysterious men. If women can't get a read on you then they're more likely to want to see you again. If they sense your deeply in love with them on your first date then you've already totally blown yourself out. Women can tell if your into them pretty quickly, its like a 6th sense. A real man that truly doesn't care about the outcome tends to have better success for that reason. For more advise checkout www.becomearealman .com

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