Hookup or commitment? Study finds relationship intentions influence women’s memory of men

Posted on July 7, 2015

After a woman meets a man for the first time, what does she remember most about him? That was the question posed in research conducted by psychologists at the University of Michigan — and the answer depends on whether the woman is looking for a hookup or a long-term relationship. Women remembered more about a man’s physical features when considering him as short-term partner. But women remembered more about a man’s verbal statements — his description of himself — when considering him as a long-term partner. The research suggests that reproductive goals and intentions influence people’s memory.

In the study of 125 undergraduate women, half of the participants were asked to evaluate a man as a one-night stand while the other half were asked to evaluate him as a committed relationship partner. Then, the participants watched a video of the man introducing himself.

The man in the video — who was 28 years old, white, tall (6’4″), and average in build — was judged to be average in attractiveness by a different group of study participants. During his introduction, he spoke directly to the camera and explained his personal likes, interests, traits, exercise habits, education, and career aspirations. He also shared some information about his personal background and family. After watching the video, the women in the study were given a surprise memory test that examined how much they could recall about the man’s physical features and verbal statements.

The researchers found that the women who were asked to evaluate the man as a committed partner had better memory for what the he had said. The women who were asked to evaluate a man as a one-night, on the other hand, had better memory for what the man’s physical features looked like.


Category(s):Relationships & Marriage

Source material from PsyPost


Mental Health News

  • Recalling Emotional Memories

    newsthumbWith the recent media focus on the Kavanaugh-Ford scandal, questions regarding recall and memory have surfaced. A special form of memory is ...

  • To what extent is it Emotional Abuse?

    newsthumbThis article helps us identify what is deemed as emotional abuse, when and how is an action or situation a form of emotional abuse.

  • Inequality as a disorder

    newsthumbEconomic inequality is one of the signs that foreshadows societal disorder. It can also negatively impact people’s lives and is highly associated ...