The Science of Attraction (What Makes Someone Attractive?)

The Science of Attraction (What Makes Someone Attractive?) Online Dating

Think back to the last time you were walking down the street, and someone caught your eye. What was it about them that got your attention? Was it the way they looked? smiled? walked? Maybe there was an unusual aura about them, something you couldn’t quite explain?

So, what is attraction? Attraction, especially in a romantic way, is a very complex process that takes place in our brains, and has had its roots since the beginning of humankind. It’s our mind’s way of telling us who has the potential to be our partner, our friend, or our soul mate, and is based on a complex blend of our interests, values, experiences, and desires.

Physical and romantic attraction, which are often focused on, are only small facets of a much larger equation. One way that psychologists look at the ingredients of attraction is in the form of a pyramid split into 4 different different sections. The base of the pyramid is made up of health and status. Status, is split into two: Internal, which includes confidence, skill set and beliefs, and external, which includes a person’s job, possessions and appearance. The metrics involved with health include the physical attributes, movement, smell, and basic levels of intelligence.

If a potential partner passes these initial requirements, then we move up to the centre of the pyramid, which are the emotional factors. These include the trust and comfort someone exudes, their emotional intelligence, and unique characteristics. The final portion of the pyramid is “Logic”. This is the part that differentiates us from other animals, and is the point when our brains seriously considers whether we’re totally compatible with the other person.

It ensures that the other person is aligned with us in terms of what they want- things such as marriage, children, or even the city they want to live in. According to this model, the more alignment there is, the more attraction there is, but it doesn’t always have to follow from bottom to top – like in online dating, for example. Another model arranges these qualities into a map and is gradually established throughout your life. A child would develop a rough prototype of what qualities he/she likes or dislikes based on experiences with their parents, teachers, and friends. As the child grows older, this prototype is fleshed out, and deeper qualities are established, like sense of humour and interests.

Throughout adulthood, this map evolves, changes, and grow alongs with them as their personal priorities and experiences change. So, what makes someone attractive? There’s no definitive answer to this question, but the first thing that may come to mind are physical traits.

Due to the prevailing influence of the media, we tend to favour women who have younger, more feminine features – such as bright eyes, clear skin, full lips, and a narrow hip-to-waist ratio. In men, on the other hand, qualities such as broad shoulders, a deep voice, and strong jawline as are looked highly upon. Scientists suggest that this also has an evolutionary origin, because these traits are associated with a higher chance of producing healthy offspring and passing on good genes.

Think back to the last time you were walking down the street, and someone caught your eye. What was it about them that got your attention? Was it the way they looked? smiled? walked? Maybe there was an unusual aura about them, something you couldn’t quite explain?

So, what is attraction? Attraction, especially in a romantic way, is a very complex process that takes place in our brains, and has had its roots since the beginning of humankind. It’s our mind’s way of telling us who has the potential to be our partner, our friend, or our soul mate, and is based on a complex blend of our interests, values, experiences, and desires.

Physical and romantic attraction, which are often focused on, are only small facets of a much larger equation. One way that psychologists look at the ingredients of attraction is in the form of a pyramid split into 4 different different sections. The base of the pyramid is made up of health and status. Status, is split into two: Internal, which includes confidence, skill set and beliefs, and external, which includes a person’s job, possessions and appearance. The metrics involved with health include the physical attributes, movement, smell, and basic levels of intelligence.

The Science of Attraction (What Makes Someone Attractive?) Dating

If a potential partner passes these initial requirements, then we move up to the centre of the pyramid, which are the emotional factors. These include the trust and comfort someone exudes, their emotional intelligence, and unique characteristics. The final portion of the pyramid is “Logic”. This is the part that differentiates us from other animals, and is the point when our brains seriously considers whether we’re totally compatible with the other person.

It ensures that the other person is aligned with us in terms of what they want- things such as marriage, children, or even the city they want to live in. According to this model, the more alignment there is, the more attraction there is, but it doesn’t always have to follow from bottom to top – like in online dating, for example. Another model arranges these qualities into a map and is gradually established throughout your life. A child would develop a rough prototype of what qualities he/she likes or dislikes based on experiences with their parents, teachers, and friends. As the child grows older, this prototype is fleshed out, and deeper qualities are established, like sense of humour and interests.

Throughout adulthood, this map evolves, changes, and grow alongs with them as their personal priorities and experiences change. So, what makes someone attractive? There’s no definitive answer to this question, but the first thing that may come to mind are physical traits.

Due to the prevailing influence of the media, we tend to favour women who have younger, more feminine features – such as bright eyes, clear skin, full lips, and a narrow hip-to-waist ratio. In men, on the other hand, qualities such as broad shoulders, a deep voice, and strong jawline as are looked highly upon. Scientists suggest that this also has an evolutionary origin, because these traits are associated with a higher chance of producing healthy offspring and passing on good genes.

Of course, culture, values, and the environment that we grow up in also play an important role. In a study published in Nature, psychologists looked at cultures removed from the influence of Western media. Surprisingly, they found that in two of the three examined tribes, men preferred women whose body mass indices would actually classify them as overweight, by Western standards. But, if attraction was purely based on physical characteristics, then everyone would be attracted to the same people.

Our life experiences probably have the greatest impact on the type of people we fall for. It is thought that a large number of couples usually fall within the same brackets in terms of size, education, religious beliefs, values, and socioeconomic status. Put simply, psychologists believe that people are more likely to get along with someone with a similar perspective on life, rather than someone who’s had a completely different experience. From a genetics perspective, scientists think that humans pick their mates assortatively, meaning that they choose partners with similar genetic traits. For example, a study at the University of California found that married couples tended to have a similar genetic scores for educational achievement.

Brain Chemistry Our personalities are determined, in a large part, by the chemistry within our brains. There’s four main neurotransmitters- dopamine, serotonin, testosterone, and estrogen and oxytocin- these exist in different amounts in each of us, and the one that’s dominant has also been shown to affect attraction. For example, research shown that dopamine dominant people are curious and creative, and are more attracted to the same, while Serotonin dominant personalities are conscientious and rule-following, and like the same type too.

Testosterone dominant minds, however, are analytical, tough minded and skeptical, and are attracted to their opposites- the estrogen/oxytocin personalities that exhibit more imaginative and nurturing traits. — As you can see, attractiveness is complex, there’s a number of different perspectives to consider, and at the end of the day, there’s very little we can do in choosing who we are attracted to. Each person looks for a unique set of traits and, while physical traits are often focused on, there are far more factors that comes into play. A person’s upbringing, behaviour, and even lifestyle have a major influence. The most important thing to remember is to be happy and make the most of it!

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