We’re back with another installment of “How Science Can Help You With the Ladies (Or Men).” As many of us already know, non-verbal communication plays a major role in the success or failure of flirting, but what we didn’t know until now was exactly how much of a role. Dr. Monica Moore, a psychologist at Webster University in St. Louis, conducted a study that could hold the keys to effective flirting. Scientists now believe that up to a whopping 55% of all successful flirting is a result of nonverbal communication–and only 7% is attributed to what you actually say! So, don’t stress so much over what you say, and focus more on how you say it.
If you want to take the good doctor’s flirting suggestions for a spin, she has four different nonverbal behaviors that communicate romantic interest. Added bonus: according to her study, just signaling your interest in someone gets you halfway there, whether you’re a man or a woman. The first behavior is called a copulatory gaze, or eye contact, which is considered the most important component of nonverbal flirting–in fact, it can actually make someone more attracted to you. The second most important behavior is touching. Moore believes there are three zones of touching in flirting: friendly (like a handshake), plausible deniability (a touch on the forearm or waist) and nuclear (a touch anywhere on the face). Finally, the Webster study says the most effective flirters consistently exhibit social dominance. This occurs through space maximization movements, like putting your arm on the back of a chair, or adjusting your leg to a wider stance when seated.