NCBI ROFL: Why you want the men you can't have.

By ncbi rofl | October 21, 2011 7:00 pm

He loves me, he loves me not . . . “: uncertainty can increase romantic attraction.

“This research qualifies a social psychological truism: that people like others who like them (the reciprocity principle). College women viewed the Facebook profiles of four male students who had previously seen their profiles. They were told that the men (a) liked them a lot, (b) liked them only an average amount, or (c) liked them either a lot or an average amount (uncertain condition). Comparison of the first two conditions yielded results consistent with the reciprocity principle. Participants were more attracted to men who liked them a lot than to men who liked them an average amount. Results for the uncertain condition, however, were consistent with research on the pleasures of uncertainty. Participants in the uncertain condition were most attracted to the men-even more attracted than were participants who were told that the men liked them a lot. Uncertain participants reported thinking about the men the most, and this increased their attraction toward the men.”

Photo: flickr/paulswansen

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  • guest

    haha I just had to analyze this article for my Intro to Psych class

  • http://www.catherineblakeney.com Catherine Blakeney

    Was this done on single ladies or on women already in a relationship?  I would say that women who were single would have a higher correlation than women dating someone already…

  • http://www.spiralyne.co.uk/ Spirulina

    So the reason women like some men is because of the thrill of not knowing whether they like them back? The uncertainty?

  • Travis

    Why is everyone saying this is a study about how women want the men they “can’t have”. The women were told the men “liked them either a lot or an average amount.” It was about uncertainty, not unavailability.

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About ncbi rofl

NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl

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