Date of Award


Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Donald Sacco

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Mitch Brown

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Aaron Fath

Committee Member 3 School



Heterogeneity has recently emerged in research investigating men’s overperceptions of women’s sexual receptivity, namely that such overperceptions are less robust than previously considered. Various social movements (e.g., #MeToo) could be a modern-day contextual factor that has reduced men’s tendency toward overperception. In this study, participants viewed hypothetical information regarding sexual assault perpetration committed by men or women (or control information) before rating opposite-sex targets on perceived sexual interest in them and reporting individual differences in just and dangerous world. The results indicate that individuals who hold stronger beliefs in an unjust world are more sensitive to perceived threats from potential mates of the opposite sex when a mating opportunity is presented. These individuals are likely to view these potential mates as more sexually motivated and aggressive compared to those with weaker unjust world beliefs. However, due to the ambiguity present in these findings, as well as the complexity of interpreting cross-sex mind reading, further research is needed to determine how to minimize the risk of sexual misconduct.