PART IV – Women Use Sexual Courtship Signals To Manipulate Men – Women’s Later Sexual Signals Affects Outcome Of Courtship, Not Early Signals, Says Research
Putting It All Together
The results show that it’s possible that in high-risk social situations that women use nonverbal communication to control the encounter. The use of the courtship signals did not correlate well with professed interest. One possible explanation is that professed interest and actual interest are two different things. The other is that women keep men guessing through a protean strategy.
Phase II tended to show that women had settled on their relative opinions of the stranger during the last 10 minutes of the encounter, but still displayed very few negative signals. This kept the man guessing by continuing to display typical courtship signals despite having no sexual interest.
The researchers also note that women solicit male verbal reactions actively through head nodding. Courtship signals may be a tactic women use to goad men on verbally. The researchers note that “women solicited male verbal reactions actively and that female negative behavior was influenced by male verbal behavior.”
In other words, the more men put their foot in their mouth, the more women rejected them. Courtship signals might just be a way for her to use her detective skills to have him make verbal commitments. Nonverbal communication is not fixed – not committed. Unlike verbal commitment which women use to assess men, nonverbal signals can be denied. “Our results support the hypotheses that sex differences are present and that they follow the direction predicted by our evolution-minded hypotheses: women try to elicit information from men and try to avoid the possibility of deception.”
It is interesting that women use sexual signals of interest in the presence of men regardless of their professed interest. Women with low and high professed interest both send the same amount of signals, however, only those with high interest maintained their signaling past the 4 minute mark (Phase I into Phase II, following 10 minutes).
The results help explain why men habitually misread women as being more sexually interested than they really are. In previous research, it’s been said that men are “bad at decoding women’s signals.” Perhaps, it is not the men who are bad at reading, but that women are sending inaccurate message to purposely conflate the message.
Women, it seems “control male speech production through the use of non-verbal behavior. This is consistent with our proposed strategy theory, which holds that women try to elicit information from the man in order to make a decision. In the first stages of the contact, women showed higher variability in their courtship behavior.”
The author’s continue “This fact could be explained by different reasons: either women behave in a protean way and send signals independent of their interest, or women signal a complete repertoire and try to find out which behavior modulates a man’s response. In this view, every pair would develop its own non-verbal code for courtship.” However, noted, is the lack of negative relation between behaviours in phase I and absence of professed interest.
From the female perspective, she is dealing with a highly risky social situation. Accepting or declining a sexual invitation can result in a lifetime of commitment. Given she lacks complete information, her ultimate goal is to deceive her “opponent.” She can do so by signaling “yes” with various nonverbal signals, yet rely on their lack of concretely defined meaning to control communication.
In other words, by keeping him in limbo through lack of verbal commitment, her intentions remain hidden so she might elicit additional information. Finally, of interest, is the fact that women lacked sending clear negative signals. She either kept the door open, which is unlikely, or she wished to manipulate him into revealing more information about himself before coming to a conclusion (likely). The data bears this out, as men who produced too much speech on the outset, elicited stronger negative behaviour in the second phase.
The authors note the malevolence of female behaviour in courtship: “As
soon as the highly discriminative woman determines that the man — who is under the impression of being accepted — is not suitable, she does not clarify the situation. This behavior can be interpreted as being ‘aggressive’ in the sense that it manipulates men’s behavior and their social perceptions.”
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Karl Grammera; Kirsten Kruckb; Astrid Juettea; Bernhard Finka. Non-Verbal Behavior As Courtship Signals: The Role Of Control And Choice In Selecting Partners. Evolution and Human Behavior, 2000 21: 371-390.
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