Everybody knows at least one man who thinks all women in his orbit fancy him – and if you don’t, it’s probably you.
While those men may appear the most confident in approaching women, however, a new study explains that they are in fact influenced by an in-built neediness, just as their shyer counterparts are sceptical of company.
According to psychologists at Union College, New York, men with a habit of misinterpreting female attention can be placed at the higher end of an ‘attachment’ spectrum, meaning they have a fear of rejection and crave reassurance, while those that at the opposite end exhibit the opposite traits: a reluctance to trust others and fear of intimacy.
In the study, which was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, researchers asked almost 500 men to imagine themselves catching the eye of a beautiful woman in a nightclub, who smiles back.
They were then required to gauge just how interested in them said fictional woman seemed, from “not at all interested” to “extremely interested” (the former of which, given the imagined smile and eye contact, being particularly tragic.)
Lastly, they were asked to say which end of the attachment spectrum they felt closest matches their own personality.
It was found that men who rank themselves at the higher end were significantly more likely to presume intense female attention, while those with a low attachment tendency consequently envisioned a woman uninterested in them.
As well as the threat of intimacy influencing the latter group, the natural flirtatiousness of the needier men was seen to reflect in their created admirers.
“If you view yourself as being flirtatious, that biases you to seeing others as behaving similarly,” said Joshua Hart, associate professor of psychology at the university and the study’s lead author.
“Their lower interest in intimacy led them to be less interested in the fictional woman,” Hart explained. “[They] thus see themselves as being less flirty, and in turn, imagining the woman as less sexually interested in them.”
The news that a woman’s perceived interest in them during a nightclub environment may be pure fantasy comes as another blow to over-confident men, who earlier this week were revealed to be less popular on dating apps than their quieter competitors. Union College’s latest study doesn’t directly further that, but does provide some explanation of where cocksure males get their hubris from.
“We see in reality what we wish to see, not necessarily what’s there,” Hart said.
Culled from The Telegraph