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Slight Smiles, Head Tilts, Hair Twirls: The 'Science' Behind Flirting Decoded

Image for representation. Credits: Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani/YouTube.

Image for representation. Credits: Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani/YouTube.

Nearly 50% of the women in the research had exclusively non-verbal cues to convey their emotional. Nearly all men recognized the cues.

Humans are not as mysterious as they think. We have very expressive facial and body language cues to reveal our inner thoughts, even more so during flirting or pursuing a partner. As evidenced in a research recently, smiles can be the best indicators of flirtatious nature.

Womenespecially tend to have precise facial cues when they’re flirting, as demonstrated by researchers at the University of Kansas.The team employed what’s known as ‘Facial Action Coding System’ (FACS) to establish the most recognizable flirtatious facial expressions.

The technology uses codes to describe facial movements. According to the observations made, the most prominent flirting cues include, “a head turned to a single facet and tilted down somewhat a slight smile, and eyes turned forward toward the target,” as reported in the Daily Mail.

However, the test was mostly about heterosexual couples so the results should be generalised on that basis as well. In their observations, they revealed that selected women’s facial expressions, including head tilt and preserved eye contact, were virtually universally regarded as flirting by men. The researchers said that despite being such an integral part of human sexuality, flirting has only now begun to be analysed.

“There are really several scientific posts out there that have systematically researched this perfectly-recognized phenomenon,” claimed OmriGillath, a psychologist at the University of Kansas, and co-creator of the report, printed in the Journal of Sexual intercourse Investigate. However, these reports haven’t discovered the facial cues or their correlated outcomes, according to Gillath.

His observation also claimed that nearly 50% of the women in the research had exclusively non-verbal cues to convey their emotional (romantic or sexual) desires. Nearly all of the men recognised these cues as ‘go’ signal.

However, he also claimed that smiling was not a definite aspect of flirting. He says a woman’s flirting cues has ‘exceptional morphology.’The research was conducted with a mix of professional actors and standard volunteers. The women were requested to spontaneously emote what they thought of as flirtatious expressions.

Some women had more effective cues, and some men were more adept at recognising them. But the particular expressions, as mentioned earlier, have been correctly discovered by virtually all males as flirting.

first published:September 15, 2020, 13:16 IST