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How Can You Tell if Someone Is Checking You Out?

How Can You Tell if Someone is Checking You Out?New research discovers an individual’s masculine or feminine appearance determines how long it takes for you to judge if someone is looking at you.

The researchers speculate that there may be an evolutionary advantage to quickly noticing when an attractive prospect is looking at you.

Psychologists have debated how we determine whether someone else is looking at us or not.

One point of view is that “it’s almost a geometric problem,” says Benedict C. Jones, of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland – that people just look at the whites of the eyes and other features of the face, without being influenced by the face in general.

But Jones and his colleagues, Julie Main, Lisa DeBruine, and Lisa Welling of the University of Aberdeen and Anthony Little of Stirling University, thought there was more to it. They designed an experiment to see whether how masculine or feminine the face was affected how quickly a viewer could assess its gaze.

Volunteers looked at faces with exaggerated or reduced male or female features; the faces had been morphed to look either more or less masculine or feminine. As the faces flashed on a computer screen, the volunteer was supposed to hit a key as quickly as possible to indicate whether the face was looking at them or away from them.

Both women and men could do that more quickly when the face had exaggerated sexual characteristics. “Women were quickest to classify gaze direction when they were looking at hunky, masculine-looking guys. Guys were quicker when they were looking at pretty, feminine women,” says Jones.

The research is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Jones 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.”

Source: Association for Psychological Science

How Can You Tell if Someone Is Checking You Out?

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). How Can You Tell if Someone Is Checking You Out?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 19, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/06/29/how-can-you-tell-if-someone-is-checking-you-out/15187.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.