Stereotypical men, women more realistic about their dating prospects

Updated: Jun 02, 2011, 12:01 PM IST

Washington: Psychologists, who studied speed-dating, have suggested that men and women, who exhibit extremely stereotypical gender behaviours, know exactly when somebody is interested in them.

The psychologists said that it is a very difficult skill to master, but stereotypical male and female are almost always accurate in their predictions of who wants to date them.

In Psychological Science, psychology professor Mitja Back and his colleagues report that they studied several hundred participants in a German speed-dating group.

They asked each participant to take a psychological test aimed at assessing how "sociosexually unrestricted" the men were, and how "agreeable" the women were.

In other words, they wanted to know how much the men had casual sex, and how "warm, trustworthy, and cooperative" the women were (traits associated with people who do well in long-term relationships).

The researchers then correlated these results with how accurately each person could predict whether a particular speed-dating partner wanted to see them again.

Though nobody scored brilliantly on this test, there was a marked difference between how well the "typical" men and women scored, versus the people who didn``t conform to gender stereotypes.

The researchers called the latter a group who could not accurately judge their "mate value," or attractiveness to others.

There is, however, substantial variation among individuals in the accuracy to predict one``s mate value.

Sociosexually unrestricted men were more accurate than restricted men and agreeable women were more accurate than disagreeable women.

Back and his colleagues have a few ideas why this might be the case. They suggest that people who behave in stereotypical ways may be expending less effort regulating their behaviour.

They``re not thinking about what they``re doing, but just acting in the expected way. This could mean that they``re able to devote more time to figuring out what other people think of them.

Another possibility the researchers raise is that people who behave stereotypically are more attractive to the opposite sex. Therefore, they date more people, and as a result of those experiences, are better able to judge when somebody is interested in them.

The study didn``t show that people with stereotypical gender behaviour got more dates - just that they were more realistic about who would want to see them again after a speed date.

However you look at it, this study is extremely incomplete, which the researchers themselves acknowledge.