Is He Checking You Out?How do you know if someone is checking you out?

New research suggests that it may have something to do with how masculine or feminine a face looks.

Women were able to more quickly determine whether someone was looking at them when that person’s face was more masculine. The same is true with men, except they could make the determination more quickly when the face was more feminine.

Men were no quicker in determining gaze direction when looking at other men’s faces, nor were women able to more quickly determine gaze direction when looking at other women’s faces. This, the researchers say, suggests an evolutionary component is at work for mate selection.

Jones [the researcher] speculates that this ability to perceive things about attractive people faster may have been useful to early humans. Previous research shows that feminine women and masculine men make the healthiest mates.

“There’s likely to be quite a big advantage to detecting when a particularly good potential mate’s looking at you,” says Jones.

“If I’m in a bar and there’s a pretty woman looking at me – if I wasn’t married – I would want to catch her eye before someone else did.”

Keep in mind, the experiment was run on only 20 heterosexual adults with a mean age of 24 years old. A larger experiment with a more diverse sample may not be able to replicate these findings (or may find something quite different).

It’s interesting to keep in mind how many basic human behaviors are still rooted in basic evolutionary needs — reproduction, shelter, food. While we like to think we’re more complex and evolved, it seems that when it comes to these kinds of basic needs, evolutionary instinct might be kicking in more than we realize.

Good information to have next time you’re in a bar and being checked out.

Read the full article: How Can You Tell if Someone Is Checking You Out?

DOI: 10.1177/0956797610370756



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    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jun 2010
    Published on All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2010). Is He Checking You Out?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from


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