Top 10 Scientific Drives Behind Attraction
10. We produce pheromonal secretions in our underarm, nipple, and genital areas. It is questionable on whether this is effective in attracting members of the opposite sex. However, biochemists have found pheromonal properties from the secretions of men and women are effective on pigs. So you might end up attracting the wrong species.
9. Love at first sight? Psychologists have shown that it only takes between 90 seconds and 4 minutes to decide if you’re interested in someone. If you think that you can woo someone just with words, you’re unfortunately wrong. Research has shown that initial attraction is based 55% on body language, 38% on tone and speed of voice, and only 7% on the words you say.
8. Attraction involves a multitude of neurotransmitters termed “monoamines,” which may cause a variety of “lovesick” actions and thoughts. These may range from a decrease in physical needs, such as a loss in appetite or a need for sleep, due to an increased obsession with the person you are attracted to. The following neurotransmitters are considered the most strongly influential:
Dopamine- induced by cocaine and nicotine
Norepinephrine (adrenaline)- increases heart rate and induces ‘nervous’ sweating
Serotonin- induces the most ‘insane’ state of love; considered one of the most influential chemicals involved with love and attraction
7. Attractive traits can actually be determined by an ideal, mathematical ratio. ‘Average’ faces tend to be more preferred in that they typically represent higher genetic diversity and better reproductive health. However, by average, the idea is that all features are considered ‘mathematically averaged.’ Certain features should be positioned according to a given ratio. For example, the distance between your eyes and mouth should follow 36% of the length of your face, while the distance between your two eyes should follow 46% of the width of your face. However, these ratios are not limited to your face. Hip-waist ratios are important in terms of ‘attractiveness’ as well.
6. Biology interacts with psychology and culture to help us pick out our mates. There are four basic personality types that Fischer explores and explains in her books, Anatomy of Love, Why We Love, and Why Him? Why Her?
Explorers (creative and dominated by dopamine)
Builder (sensible and soaked in serotonin)
Director (reasoning and ruled by testosterone)
Negotiator (intuitive, idealistic, and all about the estrogen and oxytocin)
5. Love makes you high. When you fall in love, you experience the same feeling of euphoria as with the use of cocaine because the same neural system linked to cocaine addiction activate. Scientists have MRI scans to prove it.
4. Love can make you less vulnerable to pain. Dr. Arthur Aron, a psychology professor at the State University of New York of Stony Brook, wrote in a statement released by Stanford University that “It turns out that some of the areas of the brain activated by feelings of intense love are the same areas that drugs use to reduce pain.”
3. It’s all about the details! Your voice, shirt color, and facial hair could all influence your attractiveness. Studies have shown that men prefer women with higher pitched voice associated with higher levels of estrogen, and women prefer men with lower voices, linked with more testosterone. Men found women wearing red to be more attractive and sexually desirable compared to women in blue; red supposedly serves as a signal for sexual excitation. According to another study, women prefer men with heavy stubble as opposed to a clean shaven face. The beardedness affects judgments of male socio-sexual attributes and suggest that an intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive while full-bearded men are perceived as better potential fathers.
2. Monogamy seems to be self contradictory to the evolutionary advantage of literally spreading your genes around. Only 3% to 5% of mammals form strong bonds with their partners. So what drives men to stay in monogamous relationships?
A recent study at the University of Bonn in Germany has found that physical activities (cuddling, massages, sexual intercourse, etc.) illicit oxytocin production in males. Over time, men can become (metaphorically, and maybe even literally) addicted to that oxytocin.
The emotional high of intimacy overrides the primal urge to be evolutionarily successful.
1. Love at first sight actually implies eye contact for 8.2 seconds. Men typically held eye contact with women they found attractive for that duration of time, while an indication of a less attractive women involved eye contact of 4.5 seconds or less. However, women did not provide as strong of a distinction with eye contact in terms of attractiveness. A decision as to whether a person is ‘dating’ material is made within 5 minutes given the following two brain processes:
Physical attractiveness- the ventromedial prefrontal cortex determines whether a person is considered attractive
Compatibility- the medial prefrontal cortex determines whether or not a person was considered suitable for dating
Sources: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/love-at-first-sight-instant-attraction-brain-region_n_2087843.html & http://news.softpedia.com/news/Love-at-First-Sight-Means-8-2-Seconds-of-Eye-Contact-107667.shtml
Take this face perception quiz to determine what type of partner you are most attracted to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/surveys/faceperception1/
Written by: Christa, Laura, Christine, Christina