10 Comprehensive Psychological Facts about Attraction
1. Sound And Smell Play A Bigger Role Than You ThinkA new study highlighted the multi-faceted elements to human attraction, including a hefty emphasis on sound and smell. The study, which was carried out at the University of Wroclaw in Poland, was published in a recent publication of Frontiers In Psychology. The study showed that people can determine a wide variety of characteristics from voice alone. People can not only guess someone’s age and gender by listening to their voice, but also the weight, size, dominance, and emotional state of the speaker. They can also accurately guess these traits from scent as well. This means that people rely on sight, sound and smell when it comes to being attracted to people, and all 3 senses play a vital role in making people attracted to one another.
2. Women’s Attraction Changes Throughout Menstrual CycleAccording to several studies, women are attracted to different things depending on where they are in their menstrual cycle. These studies show that when a woman is in her most fertile stage, she will prefer men who have more masculine features; deeper voices, more symmetrical faces (an indicator of strong genetics), competitiveness, and victory over other males. Even more interesting is what happens to women during peak ovulation. According to the aforementioned study, women with less masculine partners are more likely to be attracted to other men during this time. It’s the genetic hardwiring to find a stronger mate.
To test their hypothesis, the study surveyed 54 women in heterosexual relationships from age 18-44 who were students at the University of New Mexico. They were asked questions about how attracted they were to their partners during various parts of their menstrual cycle. In turn, their male partners were analyzed based on their facial symmetry, which is an indicator of testosterone levels. Note that this study was not analyzing same-sex couples.
3. Men Don’t Value Intelligence As Much As WomenSome of you might not be too surprised at this, but a recent study has shown that when looking for a mate, men value intelligence considerably less than women do. It seems like more men will go for the head cheerleader than the bookworm. The study, which was carried out by Adam Karbowski at the Warsaw School of Economics found that this wasn’t the same with women. Women were fairly likely to date a man with below average good looks and high intelligence. But the chances that an average looking woman will be deemed attractive by a male stays at around 40% – even if she’s a genius. Does this make men more shallow than women? Not necessarily, but psychologist suggest that at least when it comes to looks, women are less picky than men.
The study created an experimental speed dating session at Colombia University. Individuals had a brief “date” which each other that lasted 4 minutes. Afterwards, they were asked to evaluate the attractiveness and intelligence of their partner from a scale of 1 to 10, and how likely they were to go on another date with them. When it came to that last question, women did not typically exclude men who were not physically attractive, while this just wasn’t the case when men answered the question.
4. Why Do Pedophiles Exist?Not all attraction is good. Take pedophiles for example. Most people are horrified at their very existence. But why do pedophiles even exist? Looking at it from an evolutionary standpoint, it makes no sense. Sex with children is in no way advantageous as children cannot carry offspring. It’s clearly a mental disorder. But what causes it? One study found that pedophiles were 33% to 75% more likely to have been abused in childhood. But what about pedophiles who weren’t abused as children?
Data from another study found that pedophiles made different neural connections than other people. Inside the brain, the faces of children generally stimulate more nurturing behavior, while adult faces stimulate more sexual behavior. Using images of people’s brains, researchers found that the part of the brain stimulating sexual behavior was attuned to sexual immaturity for pedophiles. The next question is off course, why, but as of now they can only suggest “neurodevelopmental disturbances”.
5. People Find Narcissists More AttractiveNarcissists get a really bad rap, but a recent study found that most of us are incredibly attracted to them. In a speed-dating survey, it was found that the people with the most narcissistic personality traits consistently scored higher when evaluated for attractiveness. This may seem kind of surprising at first. After all, no one ever says they want to date someone who’s self-absorbed and entitled. But if you really examine what narcissists are, it all becomes clearer: narcissists care a lot about their appearance. They’re more likely to take more time making sure they look good before going out. They also place immense importance on their sex appeal, and think of themselves as being sexual gods. They say that you can only love others if you love yourself first. For narcissist, that’s a walk in the park.
Again, this study used speed dating as a method to collect their data. Subjects were asked to rate their partners based on how likely they were to pursue a short and long-term relationship with them. In both areas, narcissists scored higher than other groups. Interestingly, psychopathy in women was also linked with high appeal for short-term relationships, the study found.
6. How To Stop You Partner From Cheating On YouOne of the oldest struggles of relationships is cheating. Well, new research might just have discovered a way to make sure this never happens to you. The answer? Don’t date really attractive people. Instead, settle for someone of average attractiveness, or just above average. Why? The research found that when you date someone more attractive than you, that person begins to feel more attractive than they really are. And when someone feels more attractive and less satisfied with their current relationship, they are much more likely to cheat on their partner. There were plenty of other sets of data that the research team from Harvard examined, such as celebrity relationships and attractiveness of divorced men. Part of this is logical – after all someone who is more attractive is going to get hit on a lot more than someone who is average looking. If someone is flirted with more, they are given more opportunities to cheat.
The researchers looked at 4 studies. The first showed that people who were rated as more attractive in their high school yearbook photos had shorter marriages on average, and were more likely to divorce. The second study looked at high-profile celebrities, and found the same pattern. The other two examined the relationship between physical attraction in one partner, and the tendency to pursue an attractive alternative to the pre-existing partner.
7. Why Opposites AttractThere’s an often repeated phrase when it comes to attraction: “Opposites attract.” Until now, it was just a saying, but now science seems to have confirmed it. A recent study found that people are actually attracted to a different genetic blueprint than their own. This genetic blueprint is called an HLA complex, or human leukocyte antigen. A person’s HLA complex is vital in their immune function, specifically their ability to distinguish between enemy cells like viruses and the cells that make up one’s own body. What does this have to do with attraction? People are sexually attracted to those who have HLA complexes that are noticeably different than their own. And according to this study, people can tell if someone has a different HLA complex by their scent alone. This lends a little more weight to the argument that “love” is merely a chemical reaction.
8. Beards Are HotAre you ready for some information that can actually help you with attraction? Well, according to one study, all of you guys out there might want to consider growing a beard. Why? The study found that females are considerably more attracted to men with facial hair than those who are clean shaven. But if you want to be sexually attractive, don’t grow a full, bushy beard. Those with some degree of facial hair (a little bit of stubble, for example) were seen as more sexually attractive than those who were clean shaven and those who had full beards. Light stubble was specifically identified by the surveyed women as the best candidates for one night stands. When women were asked who they thought would make the best husbands, they chose men with heavy stubble and full beards. So it really depends what women are looking for, but the general consensus is that clean-shaven men are less sexy.
The study used a computer to morph male faces. Clean-shaven, light stubble, heavy stubble and full beards were all morphed onto the male faces using computer graphic imaging. A survey of 8520 women was done which asked whether these men were desirable for physical attractiveness in general, for a short-term liaison or a long-term relationship.