Sexually Aggressive Men May Forget a Woman's Cues

THURSDAY Oct. 14, 2010 -- The average college-aged male has an excellent memory for whether a woman initially displays sexual interest or rejection, especially when she's attractive, is dressed provocatively and expresses positive sexual interest, a new study shows.

But the men the researchers believed were at risk of being sexual aggressive toward female acquaintances showed a worse memory for women's cues about sexual interest or rejection.

The study appears in the current online issue of the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology.

"Misremembering a woman's level of sexual interest could prompt some men to make an unwanted sexual advance and become frustrated when a woman doesn't respond as anticipated," study author Teresa Treat said in a journal news release.

"Conversely, college-aged men who report more frequent serious romantic relationships with women show better memory for college-aged women's sexual interest and rejection cues. This suggests that tracking and remembering a partner's emotions may play a role in the initiation and maintenance of a serious romantic relationship," Treat said.

For this study, college-aged male participants were shown photos of women displaying sexual interest and rejection cues.

More information

For more on first impressions of the opposite sex, go to the Association for Psychological Science.

Posted: October 2010


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