There are lots of different types of guys in the world, but one type is particularly annoying if you're a woman. It's the kind of guy who doesn't know how to take a hint. No matter how subtly or not-so-subtly you say you're not interested, he doesn't quite get it.
For some guys, if he's interested in a woman, he assumes that she must be into him too. Why do some men not understand the fault with this logic? Fortunately, some researchers have worked to figure out the answer.
The participants had to rate each woman's sexual interest on a scale from “extremely rejecting” to “extremely sexually interested.” However, some of the participants were given more specific instructions. This wound up making a big difference.
The results? When men weren't told to pay attention to the woman's non-verbal cues, they were more likely to ignore those cues altogether. Instead, they were more likely to judge her sexual interest based on how they felt about her. If the men were interested in the woman, they're more likely to think the woman is into them.
The participants were also asked questions to assess if they have “rape-supportive” attitudes making them more likely to minimize or justify sexual aggression. The men who had “rape-supportive” attitudes were more likely to judge a woman's interest strictly on their physical attractiveness or the clothes they were wearing. For the most part, the men in this group couldn't read a woman's non-verbal cues. Instead, they only seemed to see what they want to see.
However, when these men were given instructions to consider the woman's body language or facial expression, they could better assess her interest level. It's almost as if it had never occurred to them that body language could be a factor. But once they were made aware of this, many men in this category were able to learn.
According to the study, these findings “may point to procedures that eventually could be incorporated into augmented prevention programs for sexual aggression on college campuses.” In other words, if it's possible to teach people to pay attention to cues instead of to their own sexual interest, then let's actually give those instructions.
Treat (pictured, right) said gauging interest can be made even simpler. “One of the best things to do is check with your partner or potential partner with how she’s feeling rather than just making assumptions,” she said. Turns out the way to be 100% accurate when gauging interest is by simply asking.