Sometimes, though, people are attracted to each other for seemingly arbitrary reasons, such as what colour you wear or whether you have a pet.
What might influence someone to fall for you? We pored through research on the psychology of attraction and found some fascinating reasons why people fall in love.
In 1974, Donald Dutton and Arthur Aron wanted to test the connection between sexual attraction and anxiety. In their study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, they placed men under two conditions. The first walked across a high, shaky bridge. The other was on a low, sturdy bridge. Afterwards, they met a female experimenter who asked them a series of questions and gave the men her phone number 'just in case.'
The men who met the woman after walking on the high bridge were more likely to call her than the men who met her on the low bridge. Psychologists call this phenomenon the 'misattribution of arousal.' The high bridge created a sense of arousal from the anxiety, but men mistakenly thought it was from the attraction to the woman.
This is why many people like to do exciting things on first dates, such as go to amusement parks, skydiving, or motorcycle rides.
We've all heard that women are attracted to men with nice cars. But men are also more attractive if they are photographed in a luxury apartment. In an
Cardiff Metropolitan University study, a man was photographed with a casual posture in a 'high-status' luxury apartment and a 'neutral status' standard apartment context.
The men with the luxury apartments were rated significantly higher for attractiveness when presented to the female subjects. Researchers determined that the illusion of status-linked property ownership has a high impact on attraction, and that context can make all the difference.
In a 1996 study, each participant was rated on physical attractiveness and then randomly assigned to date another participant. Then, participants were asked to rate their satisfaction with their dates. The participants who were more attractive were harsher in their judgments -- even if they were both equally attractive. The better looking someone was, the less satisfied they were likely to be.
But this only applies to the really attractive people. For the rest of us, according to the matching hypothesis, we are more likely to love those who are equally as attractive as us.
In a European study about facial age and attractiveness, researchers wanted to determine whether Botox actually does help women find partners. The women who went through facial procedures experienced a significant reduction in perceived age, and people rated them as much more attractive and healthy. The more treatments the women received, the more they were considered youthful, healthy, and attractive.
Researchers in France found that musical practice is associated with sexual selection. In an experiment, a young man holding either a guitar case or sports bag asked 300 young women on the street for their numbers. When the man held the guitar case, more women were willing to give him their number.
In a Slovakian research study, women who wore the colour red were more successful in mating-game scenarios. This can be attributed to sexual signaling, because women use the colour red to attract potential mates.
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