Overall, college-age men were quite good at recalling whether their female peers – in this case, represented through photos – showed interest. Their memories were especially sharp if the model happened to be good looking, dressed more provocatively, and conveyed interest through an inviting expression or posture.
But as researchers examined variations in sexual-cue recall, they found two noteworthy correlations: men with a history of more frequent serious relationships did a better job remembering the cues, while men who scored higher on a sexual aggression survey performed worse.
"Tracking and remembering a partner's emotions may play a role in the initiation and maintenance of a serious romantic relationship," said lead author Teresa Treat, a psychologist in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "Likewise, misremembering a woman's level of sexual interest could prompt some men to make unwanted sexual advances and become frustrated when a woman doesn't respond as anticipated."
Published this month in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, the study by Treat and colleagues at Indiana University involved 232 men with an average age of 19. The men viewed full-body photos of models who varied in attractiveness, attire and whether they were expressing interest. A short time later, the men were presented with the previously viewed photos, along with new photos of the same women communicating the opposite cue. They were asked which exact photos they'd seen before.
Researchers relied on extensive rating data from undergraduate men and women to determine level of attractiveness, provocativeness of dress, and whether each model's body language indicated sexual interest or rejection – for example, a "come hither" gaze versus a scowl. The men completed surveys about their relationship history and the level to which they endorsed sexually aggressive attitudes.
It's important to note, Treat says, that misremembering a woman's cue is not an excuse for an unwanted advance. Department of Justice statistics show that nearly one in four women experience an attempted or completed rape in college, and the goal of this type of research is to develop better prevention strategies.
"Finding that risk for sexual aggression is associated with processing patterns in no way minimizes the responsibility of potential perpetrators to attend to potential victims' interest levels and consent cues," she said. "But if we can better understand how women's cues might be misinterpreted, we'll be better able to address the difficulties of some young men that can result in such negative consequences."
While the study suggests that there may be a link between memory for women's sexual interest and both positive and negative sexual experiences, the long-term significance of the findings depends on whether memory proves to play a causal role in the experiences, and whether the link remains when the cues of sexual interest are presented in a more lifelike manner. It's also important to remember that numerous factors other than memory for a partner's emotions can affect young adults' sexual experiences.
"In this study, the information young men had about the women was restricted to a photo," Treat said. "In the real world, they'd be able to see how the woman responds. We'll need to see whether similar patterns emerge when men receive more information on women, perhaps through video or audio, or in structured interactions."
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500
MEDIA CONTACT: Nicole Riehl, University News Services, 319-384-0070, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Brown | EurekAlert!
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Information Technology