15/02/2011 05:17 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Do Women Really Prefer Men Who Play Hard To Get?

couple-dating-playing-footsie Are you more likely to play footsie with a man who plays hard to get? Photo: Getty

When it comes to romance, a certain amount of game playing is usually par for the course. Well, it all adds to the fun, doesn't it? But researchers at the University of Virginia and Harvard have confirmed what many have suspected for some time – that women are more attracted to men who keep them guessing about just how interested they are in them.

Excuse us while we groan at the well-worn stereotype of the needy little woman who clings desperately to every man who treats her with indifference or even disdain. But the researchers carried out a series of well controlled tests, the results of which led them to claim that women really do prefer men who play hard to get.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, describes how the psychologists enrolled 47 women to take part in a study about how effective Facebook is for online dating (at least, that's what they initially told them).

Each of the women had to view four fake Facebook profiles of attractive guys, each of whom had supposedly already rated the women's own Facebook profiles. Then the researchers told the women that the men had either given them high or average ratings, or that they couldn't reveal the ratings for the purpose of the study.

And guess what? The men who received the highest ratings from the women were the ones whose ratings weren't revealed to them - which led the researchers to suggest women fancy men more when men don't make it obvious that they fancy them back.

Looks like the science of attraction is more complicated than we think. But do you agree?

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