The Laws of Attraction: A Neurology and Psychology Expert Explainsby Takeesha Roland-Jenkins, MS | September 4, 2017
Have you ever wondered why you could be crazy attracted to some people but not to others even if they are objectively very attractive?
Attraction is a multifaceted part of life that is both simple and complex. Certain aspects, such as becoming instantly attracted to a good-looking person are simple, while other aspects, such as sharing a stimulating conversation or enjoying the same types of interests, are much more complex. Interestingly, taking a closer look at biology provides several answers that can help us better understand the laws of attraction. There are a number of studies that explain how science is strongly related to attraction.
What does science have to say about the laws of attraction?
Clinical research shows that factors such as physical features, natural body scent, and sharing similar traits all help promote attraction. Research specifically shows that people tend to view more attractive (e.g., physically handsome or beautiful) individuals as more sociable, interesting, sensitive, kind, outgoing, and modest [Dion, Wang]. Therefore, physical appearance promotes attraction to a new partner in a lot of cases. However, body language also plays a role in attraction and approachability. One particular study showed that moderately attractive women who displayed bodily gestures such as smiling, flicking the hair, and quick glances to gain attention, were approached more often by potential partners than more attractive women who did not display any of these types of gestures [Moore].
In regards to natural body scent, research shows that women who breathe in a testosterone-like substance in male sweat, called androstadienone, feel more attracted to men they may not have otherwise been attracted to [Saxton]. After breathing in this substance for at least 15 minutes, a woman may feel more aroused, happy, and attentive to the man she is interacting with. This initial level of attraction can help facilitate a deeper conversation and connection that may lead to a new relationship.
In both men and women, pheromones create the body’s natural scent and also stimulate attraction. More specifically, there are genes that produce pheromones that give each individual a special scent. These particular genes also generally encourage individuals who are distinctly different to become attracted to each other’s scent in order to strengthen the DNA of future generations for partners who have children together [Chaix].
Partners who share similar interests experience positive and rewarding interactions that further encourage individuals to want to stay in a relationship [Byrne]. This means that even though factors such as attractiveness, body scent, and body language may stimulate the initial attraction between two people, persistent attraction also involves discovering that you share common interests with your new partner.
How should this come into play when looking for a partner?
Overall, the laws of attraction are a complex science that facilitates a wonderful and often lasting bond between two compatible individuals. For individuals who are ready to start a new relationship, it is important to remember to keep an open mind and try not to focus solely on a person’s physical appearance. There is nothing wrong with wanting a beautiful or handsome partner, but if that is the main factor you focus on when you are trying to meet someone new you may miss an opportunity to build a strong relationship with an extraordinary individual. In addition, presenting a kind, warm, amiable, and easy-going personality to people that you meet, helps potential partners find you more attractive. Research actually shows that having a positive, pleasant personality increases perceived facial attractiveness [Zhang].
Furthermore, if your first impression of someone is not exactly what you expected, consider giving yourself a little more time to get to know the person before you make a relationship decision. Sometimes nervousness can prevent individuals from being themselves, especially during first dates. Lastly, make sure that finding a new partner does not take up all of your private time. Focus on enjoying your favorite activities and spending time with your friends or loved ones. This will help you remain happy, healthy, and ready to meet that special someone.
Byrne, D., & Nelson, D. (1965). Attraction as a linear function of proportion of positive reinforcements. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1(6), 659-663. doi: 10.1037/h0022073.
Chaix R, Cao C, Donnelly P. (2008). Is mate choice in humans MHC-dependent? PLoS Genet, 12;4(9):e1000184. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000184.
Dion, K., Berscheid, E., & Walster, E. (1972). What is beautiful is good. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 24(3), 285-290. doi: 10.1037/h0033731.
Moore MM. Nonverbal courtship patterns in women: Context and consequences. Ethology and Sociobiology. 1985;6(4):237-247. doi: 10.1016/0162-3095(85)90016-0.
Saxton TK, Lyndon A, Little AC, Roberts SC. (2008). Evidence that androstadienone, a putative human chemosignal, modulates women’s attributions of men’s attractiveness. Horm Behav, 54(5):597-601. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2008.06.001.
Wang J, Xia T, Xu L, Ru T, Mo C, Wang TT, Mo L. (2015). What is beautiful brings out what is good in you: The effect of facial attractiveness on individuals’ honesty. Int J Psychol. doi: 10.1002/ijop.12218.
Zhang Y, Kong F, Zhong Y, Kou H. (2014). Personality manipulations: Do they modulate facial attractiveness ratings? Personality and Individual Differences, 70:80-84. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2014.06.033.
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