In the current study, opposite-sex strangers had 10-min conversations with a possible further date in mind. Based on judgments from partners and observers, three main findings were produced. First, judgments of attractiveness/vitality perceptions (compared with warmth/trustworthiness and status/resources) were the most accurate and were predominant in influencing romantic interest and decisions about further contact. Second, women were more cautious and choosy than men-women underestimated their partner's romantic interest, whereas men exaggerated it, and women were less likely to want further contact. Third, a mediational model found that women (compared with men) were less likely to want further contact because they perceived their partners as possessing less attractiveness/vitality and as falling shorter of their minimum standards of attractiveness/vitality, thus generating lower romantic interest. These novel results are discussed in terms of the mixed findings from prior research, evolutionary psychology, and the functionality of lay psychology in early mate-selection contexts.
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