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Facebook & Valentine’s – How the two are Psychologically Related?

Facebook & Valentine’s – How the two are Psychologically Related?

As Valentines Day approaches us in a few days, a lot of us are busy doing their last minute V-day shopping for that special someone, but for some of us who are single, we might be going through one of the following scenarios:

  1. In the words of Carrie Bradshaw (from Sex and the City) describing Valentine’s day to Samantha:
    “Carrie: Everywhere I will look, people will be standing in twos — it will be like Noah’s Upper West Side rent-controlled Ark.”
  2. In the words of Samantha, who calls Carrie on Valentine’s day to check on her:
    “Just calling to make sure you aren’t hanging from your shower rod.”
  3. Or some of us non-celebs, we might be checking our Facebook page for any “last minute pokes” from someone “special” within our social circle.

While we don’t have specific advice for scenarios one and two above, we do have some words of wisdom to share for the last one: “Play hard to get,” and “less is more”

If you understand these two sayings, you might, and we stress “might” score yourself a date today! So before you hit the “Poke” button on your crush’s wall, read this first! A recent Psychological Science study by researchers at the University of Virginia and Harvard says you will probably like him more if he ignores you than if he posts flirty messages.

The study complicates decades of research on the ‘reciprocity principle,’ which says that people fancy others who show fondness for them. As psychologists Erin Whitchurch, Timothy Wilson and Daniel Gilbert explain the principle, ‘If we want to know how much Sarah likes Bob, a good predictor is how much she thinks Bob likes her.’

To test whether the uncertainty theory applies to romantic attraction, Whitchurch, Wilson and Gilbert devised a simple experiment. They recruited 47 women from the University of Virginia and told them they would be participating in a study exploring whether Facebook is a useful dating site. The researchers also said several male students from the University of Michigan and UCLA had viewed their profiles — which was a lie. The male students were fictional.

Each participant was told she would see the Facebook profiles of four of the guys. Then the participants were randomly split into three groups. In Group 1, each woman was told that the four guys whose profiles they would see had all said they expected to like her best. In Group 2, each woman was told she would see profiles of four men who had given her average ratings.

Finally, the women in Group 3 were told that the men whose profiles they would see might be those who liked them most and might be those who thought they were average. This was the uncertainty group.

Then all the participants rated the men according to how much they liked them, how much they wanted to work with them on a class project, and — cutting to the chase — how much they wanted to hook up with them.

The results confirmed the reciprocity principle — the women in Group 2 had less desire for the guys whose profiles they saw than the women Group 1, who saw the profiles of the guys who thought they were hot. But the women in Group 3, the uncertainty group, were even more attracted to their men — men whose feelings they didn’t know. As the authors write, “Women were more attracted to men when there was only a 50% chance that the men liked them best than when there was a 100% chance that the men liked them the best.”

In short, guys, you’re right to play hard to get. This Valentine’s, you can spark her attention by not poking her.

By Beena Yusuf Bali

Originally from the Midwest, Beena is an experienced former prison counselor, writer, motivational speaker, and coach. She has built an entire online health based community with healthomg.com that provides quirky and jaw dropping news from frontline health professionals. Beena represents health and wellness practitioners in marketing their products and vision through Healthomg which in return will help build an informed and healthier society. Count on Beena to keep it real!

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