The Effect of Motivation on Men and Womens Ability to Accurately Judge the Romantic Interest of Others
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Previous research suggests that men and women make potentially problematic errors in judging other people’s romantic interest, with men having a tendency to perceive more sexual intent than women. This study investigates whether motivation, which has been found to improve empathic accuracy, can be used to improve judgements in this domain. The study used a motivational passage which encouraged participants to accurately judge speed-dating targets’ romantic interest in one another by framing the task as testing ‘Emotional Intelligence’, which they were told made them more attractive to the opposite-sex. Unexpectedly men and women were not significantly different in their judgement accuracy, and the motivation had no main effect. However, there was a significant interaction found between motivation, participant gender and target gender, suggesting a more complex interplay between gender and motivation in accurately judging romantic interest. Possible explanations of this finding are discussed, and the importance of further research to more explicitly clarify the mechanisms behind it is highlighted.