Perceptions of Sexual Communication
Perceptions of Sexual Intent
Men are more likely to perceive a woman's friendliness as sexual interest, known as the male overperception bias. My research examines the male overperception bias using both traditional Error Management Theory (EMT) approach as well as a Signal Detection Theory (SDT) approach. Traditionally, EMT suggests that men have an adaptive bias to overperceive sexual interest as a way to reduce the evolutionary costs of a missed mating opportunity and maximize the evolutionary benefits of a correct identification of sexually interested potential mates. However, SDT provides both a measure of bias and a measure of sensitivity, which is the ability to distinguish signals from non-signals. This additional information might inform future research about how this and other social "biases" should be examined: as a likelihood to answer one way or another or as a fundamental breakdown in understanding cues.