Error Management Theory, Signal Detection Theory, and the male sexual overperception effect

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dc.contributor.author Brandner, Jordann Leigh
dc.date.accessioned 2019-09-30T14:56:23Z
dc.date.available 2019-09-30T14:56:23Z
dc.date.issued 2019-12-01
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2097/40192
dc.description.abstract Men seem to misperceive women’s friendliness as sexual interest, known as male sexual overperception. Behaviors communicating sexual interest and disinterest were collected, evaluated, and combined into vignettes that were used to study male sexual overperception through a Signal Detection Theory (SDT) perspective and an Error Management Theory (EMT) perspective. SDT results revealed that sensitivity to the difference between signals of sexual interest and disinterest drove participants’ perceptions, rather than an overall bias to perceive sexual interest. Cues of interest were generally underperceived, but women were slightly more biased to perceive interest than men, who tended to perceive no interest. Sensitivity and accuracy were extremely high and did not differ between the sexes. Individual differences such as life history strategy, mating strategy, and mate value did not affect sensitivity or bias. EMT analysis also found an overall underperception of sexual interest, but contradictory to the SDT results, found that men were perceiving nearly the same amount of sexual interest as women. Further examination revealed that these different results were due to EMT using difference scores that did not accurately reflect the average levels of perception for men and women due to their calculation. While the previously researched “male sexual overperception effect” was not found, these studies show that sexual communication may be more nuanced than previously thought. Additionally, these studies establish SDT as a viable methodology for exploring sexual communication and show that SDT methods can be used on biases typically studied with EMT. SDT analyses were more reflective of the raw data, provided more information in standardized, comparable measurements, incorporated individual differences, and did not lose information to aggregation. Future research on biases examined with EMT should incorporate SDT analyses to explore topics more deeply. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program under Grant No. NS9709. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject Male sexual overperception en_US
dc.subject Signal Detection Theory en_US
dc.subject Error Management Theory en_US
dc.subject Evolutionary psychology en_US
dc.subject Social psychology en_US
dc.subject Cognitive psychology en_US
dc.title Error Management Theory, Signal Detection Theory, and the male sexual overperception effect en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.degree Master of Science en_US
dc.description.level Masters en_US
dc.description.department Department of Psychological Sciences en_US
dc.description.advisor Gary Brase en_US
dc.date.published 2019 en_US
dc.date.graduationmonth December en_US


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