Unfortunately, Aggressive Guys Have No Idea You're Not Interested

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A study shows that most young men are (not surprisingly) good at remembering whether a woman has rejected their advances. But aggressive men are worse at this — so are they worse at taking no for an answer?

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According to Rick Nauert of PsychCentral, researchers showed male college students pictures of women "who expressed cues of sexual interest or rejection." When they were shown pictures of the women again, most of the men were good at remembering whether or not the ladies had "rejected" them (Nauert doesn't mention how many photos the guys saw, but this doesn't sound like that hard a task). Their memories were best when the women "expressed positive sexual interest, was dressed more provocatively, and [were] thought to be attractive." And interestingly, men who had been in long-term relationships had better memories too. However, men who were "at risk of displaying sexual aggression toward female acquaintances" were worse at the task. Says lead study author Teresa Treat, "Misremembering a woman's level of sexual interest could prompt some men to make an unwanted sexual advance and become frustrated when a woman doesn't respond as anticipated."

Obviously "I thought she liked me before" isn't an excuse for harassment, but is it possible that guys who are "at risk of displaying sexual aggression" just aren't paying that much attention to what women really want? That they don't really care whether a woman's interested or not? It's a little hard to tell without knowing what sexual aggression means in this context, and as Nauert points out, the findings would need to be repeated in a more lifelike environment before researchers could draw real conclusions. But it would be interesting to learn whether men who harass women actually remember them differently — and whether being in a relationship actually boosts guys' memories.

Men Remember Women's Initial Sexual Interest [PsychCentral]

Image via Viorel Sima/Shutterstock.com

DISCUSSION

By
SuicaLove

The interesting thing is that the "aggressive guy" bit is always played so attractively in romantic comedies. Normally the girl will absolutely refuse to go out with the guy, and he will keep trying, and trying, and trying, until eventually— gasp!— she gives in. Then its wonderful from that point on.

Since we know they end up together and normally the male lead is charming, it seems cute. Viewed another way? Creepy. I was watching "An American in Paris" the other day, and as much as I love Gene Kelly, I could see his "courtship" being super-stalker-y.