This Is the Best Move to Make When Flirting, Study Says

Research shows this is the most common flirting facial expression.

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Flirting is not black and white. What some people may perceive as flirtation, others may interpret as innocent banter. However, there are a few moves that will ensure the person on the receiving end of your desire knows they are being flirted with. A September study out of the University of Kansas published by the Journal of Sex Research found that there is a specific facial cue that demonstrates women's undeniable flirtation. According to the study, flirting is all in the face.

To complete the study, women—some professional actors and some volunteers—were asked to mimic the flirting expression they would use at a bar or on a date to get attention from someone they were interested in. The study used the Facial Action Coding System (FACS) to identify the morphology of the facial expression that was identified by most, if not all, of the men on the receiving end as flirting. This flirtatious facial expression included "a head turned to one side and tilted down slightly, a slight smile, and eyes turned forward (toward the implied target)," according to the study.

Woman flirting with man using facial expression
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This specific non-verbal communication was consistently used by women to display flirting, and men consistently picked up the cue, making it the easiest way to get your point across without saying anything.

"Our findings support the role of flirtatious expression in communication and mating initiation," co-author of the study Omri Gillath, PhD, said in a statement. "For the first time, not only were we able to isolate and identify the expressions that represent flirting, but we were also able to reveal their function—to activate associations related with relationships and sex."

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The study marks the beginning of research into the science behind flirting. "There are very few scientific articles out there that have systematically studied this well-known phenomenon," Gillath said.

According to Gillath, this study was the first to pinpoint a specific facial expression and test its effects. These results help draw a roadmap for clueless flirters by helping them identify a more concrete way to demonstrate and understand desire. And to boost your appeal to potential mates, This Is the Easiest Way to Make Yourself More Attractive, Study Says.

Allie Hogan
Allie Hogan is a Brooklyn based writer currently working on her first novel. Read more
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