Just A Smile?
A March 31 New Scientist article on "The Love Delusion" mentions these puzzling observations:
Martie Haselton … research indicates that men typically overestimate the sexual interest conveyed by a woman’s smile or laughter. When men see someone of the opposite sex smile at them they tend to think "she must be interested." Women simply see a smile. That’s not all. It turns out that the smarter the guy, the more likely he is to show this "she wants me" bias. … Glenn Geher … asked me how they thought women would respond to adverts in which other men offered no-strings-attached sex. He found that the the higher the IQ, the more likely they were to think that women would be interested.
It is surprising to see smarter people being less accurate. So I wonder. Yes, the men disagree with the women, but how clear is it that the women are right and the men are wrong? Maybe around smart guys, smiles and laughter do indicate an interest which women will not admit, perhaps even to themselves. After all, Tuesday’s New York TImes says:
The body’s entire motor system is activated almost instantly by exposure to sexual images, … the body is primed for sex before the mind has had a moment to leer. Moreover, she said, arousal is not necessarily a conscious process. … Show a woman scenes of a man and a woman having sex, or two women having sex, or two men, or even two bonobos, Dr. Chivers said, and as a rule her genitals will become measurably congested and lubricated, although in many cases she may not be aware of the response.
Ask her what she thinks of the material viewed, however, and she will firmly declare that she liked this scene, found that one repellent, and, frankly, the chimpanzee bit didn’t do it for her at all. … “with women, there’s a discrepancy between stated preference and physiological arousal.”