The present investigation identifies the nonverbal and verbal behaviors associated with the five flirting styles (i.e., physical, traditional, sincere, polite, playful) (Hall et al. in Commun Q 58:365–393, 2010). Fifty-one pairs (N = 102) of opposite-sex heterosexual strangers interacted for 10–12 min and then reported their physical attraction to their conversational partner. Four independent coders coded 36 nonverbal and verbal behaviors. The residual variance of the interaction term between each flirting style and physical attraction was calculated, accounting for variance associated with the other styles. These five residual terms were separately correlated with the coded verbal and nonverbal behaviors. Each flirting style was correlated with behaviors linked to the conceptualization of that style: more conversational fluency for physical flirts, more demure behaviors for traditional female flirts and more assertive and open behaviors by traditional male flirts, less fidgeting, teasing, and distraction and more smiling for sincere flirts, more reserved and distancing behavior by polite flirts, and more obviously engaging and flirtatious behaviors by playful flirts.
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Thanks to study coordinators and coders: Seth Brooks, Arianne Fuchsberger, Courtney Holle, Robin Latham, Trevor Perry. This research was supported by the University of Kansas General Research Fund (GRF Award No. 2301662).
|Rest head||Rest head in hand or on back of chair||Count|
|Nodding||Moving head in an up or down direction in order to express/signal agreement or interest in what the other participant is saying||Count|
|Shaking head||Moving head side to side to express/signal disagreement or lack of interest in what the other participant is saying||Count|
|Stroking, flipping, playing with hair||Pulling hair in a downward/through motion||Count|
|Tussling, smoothing, or fixing hair|
|Moving hair out of face|
|Any flip motion|
|Putting hair up or taking hair down|
|Lips||Bringing lips into mouth||Count|
|Smiling||Moving sides of mouth in an upward direction||Count|
|Mouth manipulations||Open mouth—dropped jaw||Count|
|Mouth movements for expressiveness (clenching, licking, or exposing teeth, wincing, “o” face)|
|Expressiveness of face||Eye brown flashes||Count|
|Big eyes, squinting eyes, mock anger|
|Overemphasizing facial expressions|
|Exaggerated smile—open mouth smile|
|Laughter||Laughing in response to the other participant||Count|
|Giggling—a light laugh in a nervous affected or silly manner|
|Signaling laughter (“ha” before, during, or after talk)|
|Vocal expressiveness||Quick rate of speech||1 = Slow, monotone|
|Voice animated and excited||5 = Animated, excited|
Lots of variation in tone or pitch|
(Overall rating for minute)
|Pitch/tone||5 = Higher pitch, more feminine tone,||5 = High pitch|
|1 = Low pitch, more masculine tone, lower voice (Overall rating for minute)||3 = Androgynous|
|1 = Low pitch|
|Leaning toward other participant||Forward angled motion from the hip, moving from an erect or closed off position to a open or angled position in the direction of the other participant||1 = Leans back/away from other|
Upper body upright toward the other participant|
(Overall rating for minute)
|3 = Up-right, or leans in occasionally|
|5 = Leans forward nearly whole time|
|Arms cross, open torso||Full exposure to breast/chest and stomach area (arms not crossed)||1 = Arms crossed nearly whole time|
|Arms crossed around chest, stomach (overall rating for minute)||3 = One arm crossed, Hands in lap, or half open and half crossed over minute|
|5 = Open, full exposure near whole time|
|Move closer together||Attempt to move chair closer to other person||Count|
|Scooting body forward in seat|
|Breast presentation/protrusion||Lifting or expanding chest/breast area by extending lower back upward toward other person, or by pulling arms away from other person||Count|
|In combination with leaning forward, pressing breasts together with upper torso|
|Fall in chair||Letting body fall into chair either backward or sideways||Count|
|Bending at torso or throwing head back or to the side|
|Touch||Most likely in greeting or departure||Count|
|Count for minute|
|Palming||Open wrist and palm of the hand||Count|
|Turning motion toward open toward other person—full motion|
|Hand movements||Using hands to emphasize a point or to help express what they are saying verbally||Count|
|Any hand movement gets counted|
|Usually this accompanies speech|
|Self touching||Hands running along any part of the body||Count|
|Any time a body part is moving along another body part in pointed/noticeable way|
|Itching body, head, or face|
|(Not hair touch)|
|Artifact adjustments||Resituating clothing||Count|
|Rolling up sleeves or pant legs or skirts|
|Adjusting clothing in a way that reveals more skin|
|Playing with objects||Wringing or messing with hands—rings, watches, bracelets, nails, etc.||Count|
|Playing with buttons, zippers, strings|
|Fiddling with other objects|
|(Not the card)|
|Card manipulation||Folding, turning, flipping, bending, waving card||1 = Not at all|
|Using card to enhance message or illustrate a point||3 = Some card|
|Pointing to or holding out card when talking about the question on the card||5 = Constant card fidgeting|
|Cover face with hands||Cover mouth with hand||Count|
|Put one or two hands on cheeks or chin|
|Stroking chin or facial hair|
|Flirtatious glances||Eyebrow flash with a smile (coy smile)||Count|
|Half-smile and lowered eyes|
To look steadily or intently at the other versus looking down and away|
(Overall rating for minute)
|1 = Looking away/down nearly whole time|
|3 = Half look at and half look down/away|
|5 = Steady, intent gaze at other|
|Coy gaze||Brief look followed by look away—a gaze implying shyness or modesty but intended to be alluring||Count|
|Erect and open posture—legs||Count every time legs cross or uncross||Count|
|Either one foot on one thigh, crossing at the ankles, or crossing at knee|
|Asking questions||Asking the other for advice, opinions, or inputs when answering the question||Count|
|Requesting reassurance on the answers they are giving based on the card questions or interpreting the question (is this what it is asking?)|
|Asking questions that are not on the card|
|Affirming||Affirming (yes, that is interesting, oh?)||Count|
|Encouraging responses—really? Sure!|
|General agreement or support|
|Teasing||To make fun of or tease the other person in a good-natured or light-hearted way||Count|
|To attempt to provoke in a playful way|
|Self-deprecating remarks||Positive and emphasized sarcasm about self—followed a noticeable friendly comment||Count|
|Self-disparaging comment followed by smiling or laughter|
|Not caring or not knowing is not self-deprecating|
Choppy, with lots of interruptions, and long pauses or very smooth conversation with few overlapping and little pause between talk|
(Overall rating for minute)
|1 = Lots of hesitation, short responses, overlapping, or uncomfortable silence|
|3 = Normal conversation/appropriate conversation|
|5 = Very smooth and fluent conversation; Conversation you might see between close friends, Enjoyment obvious|
|Depth of disclosure||
Yes, no or very short responses to questions versus more personal information|
(Overall rating for minute)
|1 = Short, curt, and non-detailed responses|
|5 = Long, detailed responses, with personal disclosure|
|Amount of talk||How much did the subject talk versus the other person||1 = Other person|
|1 = Other person talked nearly whole time||3 = 50/50|
|5 = The subject talked nearly the whole time||5 = Subject talked|
|Self-promotion||No self-promotion, even modesty when good accomplishments noted||Count|
Provide lots of details about accomplishments, achievements, or good things about self|
(Overall rating for minute)
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Hall, J.A., Xing, C. The Verbal and Nonverbal Correlates of the Five Flirting Styles. J Nonverbal Behav 39, 41–68 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10919-014-0199-8
- Flirting styles
- Nonverbal behavior
- Physical attraction