Carin Perilloux, Robert Kurzban (2015)
Substantial evidence comparing men’s perceptions of women’s sexual intentions with women’s own reports of their sexual intentions has shown a systematic pattern of results that has been interpreted as support for the idea that men overestimate women’s true sexual intentions. However, because women’s true sexual intentions cannot be directly measured, an alternative interpretation of the existing data is that women understate their sexual intentions and that men’s assessments of women’s intentions are generally accurate. In three studies, we (a) replicated the typical sex difference in sexual-intent ratings, (b) showed that men maintain their ratings of women’s sexual intentions even when incentivized to tell the truth, and (c) showed that women believe that other women are understating their sexual intentions in self-report measures. Taken together, these results imply that men might be accurate in perceiving and reporting women’s sexual intentions and that men might be managing errors through biased behavior rather than biased beliefs.