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Guys mistake women's smile for sexual desire

Men often overestimate women's desire for them and those looking for a quick hook-up are more likely to get it wrong, a new study has suggested.

"There are tons of studies showing that men think women are interested when they're not. Ours is the first to systematically examine individual differences," said Williams College psychologist Carin Perilloux, who conducted the research with Judith A. Easton and David M. Buss of University of Texas at Austin. 

The research involved 96 male and 103 female undergraduates, who were put through a "speed-meeting" exercise--talking for three minutes to each of 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 results showed that men looking for a quick hook-up were more likely to overestimate the women's desire for them.

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.

And the more attractive the woman was to the man, the more likely he was to overestimate her interest.

Women also tended to underestimate men's desire.

The findings will appear in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science.

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