Friday, May 1, 2009

Chicks Are Inscrutable

And that's not just my opinion. It's backed up by science. Outside observers are better at reading the intentions of men than they are at figuring out what women are thinking.

Indiana University conducted a study where observers watched clips from speed-dating interactions and were asked whether or not the participants were interested in each other. Neither men nor women were particularly effective as observers when it came to figuring out which daters were interested. However, the speed-dating men were easier to "read," and both male and female observers were able to figure out whether the interest on their part was genuine. Speed-dating women were more deceptive, and misled observers as to whether or not they were interested more frequently.

There were some other interesting side notes to this study. For one thing, there was no difference in accuracy on the observers' part whether they viewed a full 30 seconds of interaction or only 10 seconds (Hi there, Malcolm Gladwell!).

The other point worth noting was that while the observations were conducted in Indiana, the actual speed-dating sessions were conducted in Germany. So as far as we know, it's only German men who are transparently easy to read.

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The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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