Psychologist Carin Perilloux at Williams College, and Judith A. Easton and David M. Buss of University of Texas at Austin said the study involved 96 male and 103 female undergraduates, who were put through a "speed-meeting" exercise -- talking for 3 minutes each to five potential opposite-sex mates.
Before the conversations, the participants rated themselves on their own attractiveness and were assessed for the level of their desire for a short-term sexual encounter. After each meeting, they rated the partner on a number of measures, including physical attractiveness and sexual interest in the participant.
The model afforded the ability to test the participants in multiple interactions.
The study, scheduled to be published in the journal Psychological Science, found men looking for a quick hookup were more likely to overestimate the women's desire for them. The researchers found men who thought they were hot also thought the women were hot for them -- but men who were actually attractive, by the women's ratings, did not make this mistake.
The more attractive the woman was to the man, the more likely he was to overestimate her interest, while the women tended to underestimate men's desire, the study said.
The research contains messages for daters. Perilloux said women should know the risks, and be as communicative and clear as possible. Men should know that the more attracted you are, the more likely you are to be wrong about her interest.