Study: Women Hard to Read

Now, here’s a study I hope wasn’t funded by our tax dollars:

Researchers at Indiana University showed video clips from 24 different speed dates and asked male and female participants two simple questions: “Do you think the man was interested in this woman?” and “Do you think the woman was interested in this man?” Their answers were then compared with the responses of the speed daters themselves.

The results, published in the January issue of the journal Psychological Science, show that both men and women are able to gauge a man’s interest in a woman, but are equally baffled when it comes to figuring out if a woman is interested in a man.  In fact, a flip of a coin would be almost as accurate in predicting a woman’s romantic interest on a date.

Skyler S. Place, who headed up the study, says that the biological drive behind dating – finding an optimal mate for gene promotion – gives women reason to be elusive. “Being coy forces the men to spend more time interacting with the woman, because they are unsure if they have successfully courted her,” Place said. “Therefore, the woman has more time to gather information about her date.” Ultimately, women have more at stake while dating because they face higher “sunk costs” – a woman can carry the child of only one man at a time, while a man can impregnate many women.

Plus, the chances are much greater than 50-50 that a man in a dating scenario is interested in the woman.

Photo by Flickr user cromocom, used under Creative Commons license.

FILED UNDER: Gender Issues, Science & Technology,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Franklin says:

    Sorry, what were you saying, James?