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Nonverbal dating cues

More often than not, guys interpret even friendly cues, such as a subtle smile from a gal, as a sexual come-on, and a new study discovers why: Guys are clueless.

Each student reported on 280 photographs, which had been sorted previously into one of the categories based on surveys completed by different groups of students.Nonverbal communication (NVC) between people is communication through sending and receiving wordless clues.It includes the use of visual cues such as body language (kinesics), distance (proxemics) and physical environments/appearance, of voice (paralanguage) and of touch (haptics).It's well known that good communication is the foundation of any successful relationship, be it personal or professional.It's important to recognize, though, that it's our nonverbal communication—our facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture, and tone of voice—that speak the loudest."Young men just find it difficult to tell the difference between women who are being friendly and women who are interested in something more," said lead researcher Coreen Farris of Indiana University's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

This "lost in translation" phenomenon plays out in the real world, with about 70 percent of college women reporting an experience in which a guy mistook her friendliness for a sexual come-on, Farris said.

It can also include chronemics (the use of time) and oculesics (eye contact and the actions of looking while talking and listening, frequency of glances, patterns of fixation, pupil dilation, and blink rate).

Just as speech contains nonverbal elements known as paralanguage, including voice quality, rate, pitch, volume, and speaking style, as well as prosodic features such as rhythm, intonation, and stress, so written texts have nonverbal elements such as handwriting style, spatial arrangement of words, or the physical layout of a page.

Some might think the results come down to "boys being boys," and so even the slightest female interest sparks sexual fantasy.

But the study, to be detailed in the April issue of the journal , also found that it goes both ways for guys — they mistake females' sexual signals as friendly ones.

The competence of an individual, in our present-day society, is most often judged by their verbal proficiencies.