There’s apparently a very simple way to tell if someone is into you or not, according to a new study. Researchers at Wellesley College and the University of Kansas did a joint study and found that if a man looks at a woman’s face, they don’t like a woman in a romantic way. When they looked at the chest or hip region, that meant they had hearts in their eyes. And you thought eye contact was the most important thing! The research was intended to figure out how to tell if someone thought a person was “attractive,” so if someone is looking at your face, they might still like you. Just possibly not in a sexual way.
The study gathered 105 heterosexual undergraduate students for subjects and asked them to look at photos of men and women and to answer whether they wanted to be buddies or date a person. The researchers then tracked their eye movements. While the study was peer-reviewed, it’s important to remember that it only looked at heterosexuals college students.
But it certainly is something to think about. The researchers noted that the men looking at a woman’s chest and hips is actually in line with past research that found that men tend to consider a woman’s reproductive abilities when choosing a mate. It’s apparently evolution. It still feels gross, though.
Moreover, the study shows that it really depends on what you’re already looking for in a relationship. Men, across the board, looked at the chest and hips whether or not they were looking for love. Meanwhile, women looked at the head, but looked at it longer if they were considering just being friends with a man. They also checked out legs and feet when they just had pure thoughts about a person.
“Research on attraction tends to assume there is a fixed set of characteristics that makes a person desirable. This new study shows that what people look for in a prospective relationship partner depends on their relational goals. The same person who makes a highly desirable friend may not make a good mate,” Angela Bahns, the study’s coauthor and an assistant professor of psychology at Wellesley, wrote in a statement.
But don’t be totally offended if your crush is checking out your feet or ear lobes and not your chest. Maybe they’re just highly evolved and know that female partners aren’t just for mating.