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Does Playing Down Attraction Work?

Psychologists Underestimated the Power of Female "Obsession" on Attraction

Earlier this week, I told you scientists thought political correctness was impeding gender research, so open your minds for this finding. Women are actually masochists when it comes to dating, preferring men whose feelings they are unsure of to those they are. Even when they're all attractive!

I know, you could have told me this. We don't need to look beyond fiction or real life to know the push and pull of attraction, but there is another illuminating, slightly womanizing, finding. The authors of the study, psychologists at Harvard and University of Virginia, believe they've underestimated the power of a woman's obsessiveness. Though, to be fair to "obsessive" women everywhere, the study did not examine men. So where does obsession come in?

The more uncertain a woman is about a guy's feelings, the more she thinks about him; the more she thinks about him, the more she thinks she likes him. The keyword is think — it's almost like an illusion.


So, guys, before you roll up your feelings and let the games begin, remember this: aloofness may spark initial attraction, but that just puts you on pedestal, setting the woman up for disappointment. It's like the real-life equivalent of putting only photos of yourself tan, 30 pounds lighter, and in your best clothes (the ones that no longer fit) on a dating profile, and then going on a first date. Only it's a lot meaner!

Photo courtesy of NBC

Join The Conversation
zeze zeze 6 years
I am very guilty of this. More than just wanting to know, I like the challenge.
kesatuuli kesatuuli 6 years
also another fun fact, they also did another study on uncertainty but for couples, and showed you can increase romantic feelings by making the couples think about how uncertain it was when they had fallen in love. thinking about just one sequence being broken in the chain of events leading up to meeting their significant other also makes people feel like the relationship had been more uncertain, and makes the couple feel more close to one another. to be honest i don't think it's the same process as the dating game study, but can't hurt to feel lucky about the one you're with.
kesatuuli kesatuuli 6 years
great study, i actually attended a talk by dan gilbert on this study. it makes a lot of sense sadly enough. in the study, people were either told that individuals that looked at their facebook profile thought they were average or above average in a "Dating game." there was a control condition where they were told that either the person thought they were average or above average but the experimenters were not allowed to reveal which it was. the idea is that when things are uncertain, people try to figure it out, and because it's hard to figure out, we fixate on it and think more and more about it. it's sort of like getting caught in a loop. so we start to become more attracted to people who we think MIGHT like us because that person is constantly on our mind. everyone likes the person that they know for certain thinks they are above average, and likes the guy that thinks they are just average but they stop thinking about it because they know the answer. it's a puzzle what the control group thinks about them so they keep wondering about it. sadly, there is truth to playing hard to get...
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