Some girls merely flutter their eyelashes.

Others snuggle up close and play footsie, while the really forward type might venture a touch on the thigh.

But whatever the method of flirting it just doesn't work with most men, claim researchers.

The male brain, it seems, is hopeless at picking up "come-on" signals, according to a report to be published next month. This leaves men impervious to the seduction techniques of the opposite sex.

Signals Men Miss
©The Mail on Sunday

A study by scientists at Indiana University tested 280 undergraduates of both genders on their ability to spot social signals.

They were shown photographs of women and asked to categorise them as friendly, sexually interested, sad or rejecting.

The male students were far less accurate than the females at interpreting the body language, and were particularly baffled by the difference between flirty and friendly gestures.

When shown images of women making advances, men tended to misread the sexual cues as friendliness. At the same time they mistook photos of women merely being friendly for sexual interest.

The researchers also found that women overestimate men's ability to pick up on sexual signals.

They argue that many females wrongly believe that the men are well aware of their attempts to woo, but are just not interested in responding.

"Failure to pursue could be an indicator of misperception but could easily be explained by noninterestthe scientists write in the journal Psychological Science.

In contrast, women are very aware that males get the wrong end of the stick when they are simply being friendly.

This is because, the researchers argue, men who misconstrue a friendly gesture as a come-on are more likely to follow through with inappropriate behaviour.

Such embarrassing encounters will lodge more keenly in a woman's memory, and she will also be more likely to discuss it with her friends.

Lead researcher Dr Coreen Farris reassures women, however, that all is not lost when it comes to flirting. She said: "These are average differences. Some men are very skilled in reading clues."

Best- selling author Kathy Lette said the research proved that women are far more fluent in body language.

"It is really confusing for women," she said.

"The average bloke either doesn't realise that we fancy him until we are giving birth to his children in the labour ward; or he presumes all women fancy him all the time.

"God was playing some kind of prank when he developed two sexes."