Playing Moderately Hard to Get

Stephen Reysen, Iva Katzarska-Miller

Abstract


In two studies, we examined the effect of different degrees of attraction reciprocation on ratings of attraction toward a potential romantic partner. Undergraduate college student participants imagined a potential romantic partner who reciprocated a low (reciprocating attraction one day a week), moderate (reciprocating attraction three days a week), high (reciprocating attraction five days a week), or unspecified degree of attraction (no mention of reciprocation). Participants then rated their degree of attraction toward the potential partner. The results of Study 1 provided only partial support for Brehm’s emotion intensity theory. However, after revising the high reciprocation condition vignette in Study 2, supporting Brehm’s emotion intensity theory, results show that a potential partners’ display of reciprocation of attraction acted as a deterrent to participants’ intensity of experienced attraction to the potential partner. The results support the notion that playing moderately hard to get elicits more intense feelings of attraction from potential suitors than playing too easy or too hard to get. Discussion of previous research examining playing hard to get is also re-examined through an emotion intensity theory theoretical lens.


Keywords


emotion intensity theory; reciprocation of attraction; romantic attraction

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5964/ijpr.v7i2.128