A group of scientists from universities in Germany and Scotland used speed dating experiments to assess why some people are better at predicting whether other people find them attractive. After each three-minute date, the men and women were asked whether they would want to see their "date" again and also whether they thought their date would want to meet them.
They found that overall – surprise! - most people were very bad at guessing who was interested in taking things further. But those who did better had particular personality traits: men who were more promiscuous and women who researchers considered to be "very agreeable" both rated higher than others.
Mitja Back, from the University of Mainz, who co-wrote the paper published in the journal Psychological Science, said people displaying behaviour stereotypically associated with their sex probably made the other person behave more typically in return – making them more likely to flirt, for example. "Speed dating is a very good context to study dating behaviour," says Back. "It's almost like psychologists could have invented this."