Playing hard to get: attraction, uncertainty, and tinder

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Annie T McCord (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Erin Myers

Abstract: Does ‘playing hard to get’ really work in our favor in encounters with potential romantic partners? Research on uncertainty in social interactions may support this adage and help explain why it works. Whitchurch, Wilson, and Gilbert (2011) showed that women were more attracted to a male target when they were uncertain about feelings of the male stimulus towards them than when they knew the male stimulus was attracted to them. The current research intends to replicate the Whitchurch et al (2011) findings to an extent but to also tease out any gender differences and potential sexual concordance implications. Using a platform similar to the popular match making application Tinder, along with the Tobii eye tracker to measure pupil dilation as an indicator of physiological arousal, male and female subjects (N = 63) were asked to rate attractiveness of a target with either already known attraction (certainty) or with unknown target opinion (uncertainty). Based on previous research (ie Whitchurch et al, 2011; Wilson et al, 2005), we predict that those in the uncertainty condition will self-report the stimuli as more attractive than those in the certainty condition. Also, given previous research on sexual concordance (Suschinsky & Lalumiere, 2011), we predict that subjects will show more physiological arousal (greater pupil dilation) in the uncertainty condition than in the certainty condition. Various analyses of variance (ANOVA) on self-report attraction and pupil dilation revealed no significant effect of uncertainty on attraction, physiologically or psychologically as well as an absence of any gender differences on these dimensions.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
attraction, sexual concordance, Tinder, uncertainty
Sexual attraction
Interpersonal attraction
Dating (Social customs)
Man-woman relationships
Analysis of variance

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