Confidence is sexy and it can be trained: Examining male social confidence in initial, opposite‐sex interactions

Norman P. Li*, Jose C. Yong, Ming‐hong Tsai, Mark H. C. Lai, Amy J. Y. Lim, Joshua M. Ackerman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated whether men's social confidence in an initial, opposite-sex chatting context can be improved through a video tutorial and the extent to which being perceived as socially confident results in being seen as more romantically desirable and worthy of future contact.

Women chatted with men who had received or not received a tutorial on how to handle speed-dating chats (Study 1: N = 129; Study 2: N = 60) or with male targets selected for having high versus moderate confidence in handling initial, opposite-sex encounters (Study 3: N = 46).

Tutorial-trained men felt more confident going into the chats and they, as well as male targets selected for their confidence, were perceived by female chat partners to be higher in social confidence, status, and dominance. However, only perceptions of social confidence were further associated with being perceived as more romantically desirable (as a short-term mate) and worthy of future contact.

Findings indicate that social confidence is trainable and that other-perceived social confidence can impact the outcomes of social interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1235-1251
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number6
Early online date3 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


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