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Looking to Hook Up? Don’t Tell Them You’ve Been Dumped…

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Yup, science is your wing-man.

A study published online today in the journal Evolutionary Psychology tests how people react when they hear a potential mate has been dumped.

The study used 198 subjects (102 women and 96 men) with ages around 18-19. They brought them in groups into a computer lab and they did not interact with one another.

Instead, they were told to read the online profile of 3 potential mates. The profiles were set up to look like online dating ads, but did not have photos.

The subjects were then asked to grade, on a scale of 1 to 9, how much they would want to:

  1. Have a dating relationship
  2. Have a long-term relationship
  3. Have a sexual relationship

with the person in the profile. They rated the profile twice; once after reading the first half of the profile (i.e. I am easy-going, fun-loving etc). They rated the profile a second time after reading the second half of the profile, which contained information on how the person’s last relationship ended.

The two ratings were then compared to one another to see how perception changes after learning how the potential mate’s last relationship ended. And the results are…

As you might expect, when the subjects heard that their potential date had been dumped, their scores dropped significantly more than if they were the dumper, or if the information was not available. This was seen for all 3 types of relationships tested (dating, long-term, and sexual).

Additionally, the researchers found that

female participants reported an increased desire to have a sexual relationship with a potential partner after learning he had rejected his last partner. However, while men’s desire to have a sexual relationship with a target was not influenced by her having rejected her last partner, their desire to have a romantic relationship with her decreased significantly. On the other hand, both men and women were put off by a target failing to disclose the circumstances of his or her last break-up.
So if you’re a male, your chances with a new girl increase if you tell her that you dumped your last girlfriend. If you are a female and you want a romantic relationship, you should tell the guy that you were the one who was dumped.
 
Some interesting differences between the sexes there. One limitation of the study is that it only uses subjects around 18 or 19 years old. I would suspect that if you did the same experiment with an older crowd, the results would change. Specifically, I don’t think middle-aged persons would care as much how the potential mate’s last relationship ended.
 
Psychology is pretty interesting, and I regret not taking a couple of psych courses in university as electives.