The average university-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 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.
"Conversely, university-aged men who report more frequent serious romantic relationships with women show better memory for university-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.
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