Playing hard to get works. We already knew that. But more research confirms the romantic tactic. Potential partners who have an air of mystery are more attractive to men than more attainable mates, a study in the Journal of Consumer Research finds. Researchers showed both shy and smooth men crisp photos of good looking women and blurred pictures of potential dates. "Quite surprisingly, however, the smooth talkers found the date more attractive when the picture was slightly blurry rather than clear," writes researchers Sarah Kim and Aparna A. Labroo. But perhaps even more intriguing about the study is that people like anything that's hard to get--not just ladies. The same study found that shoppers preferred products they had to travel across town to get, even if they could get them closer. So, really, people like anything that's out of reach. But why?
It's all about the chase. There's something sexy about the game. A similar study found that college women were most attracted to male Facebook profiles when they weren't sure if the men liked them at all. "The general assumption is that there is something about the challenge that increases attraction," said study author Erin Whitchurch. If something's just out of your reach, it's fun to try and get it. Once you have it, the object or significant other might not feel as desirable anymore.