Science of Attraction: 9 Ways We Measure Attractiveness
While meeting Mr. or Ms. Right may feel like magic, our first impressions actually have a scientific basis. These nine aspects of attraction are some of the most powerful ways to find and attract a date.
#1. Your Voice
Voice is actually an indicator of fertility. The iconic Marilyn Monroe sings "Happy Birthday, Mr. President", while Fran Drescher draws out her famous cackle. But what makes a voice attractive? In both sexes, those who talk fast come across as more educated, and those with varied inflection seem more interesting. It's in the vocal pitch that sexual preferences vary - men prefer high pitched female voices, while women prefer men with a deep pitch. An attractive or unattractive voice can even change the way we perceive a person's appearance.
In one study, men and women were asked to rate the attractiveness of a series of androgynous headshots that were paired with either a low pitched voice or a high pitched voice. Women consistently rated pictures matched with lower voices as more attractive, and for men it was just the opposite - they found pictures with higher voices more attractive.
What can we learn from this? How we sound can be just as important as how we look. Practice your intonation and inflection with a friend of the opposite sex who can give you instinctual, honest feedback.
#2. Your Reputation
When you first meet someone, most of the hard work is done for you as long as your good reputation proceeds your introduction. When others already trust you, like you, and are attracted to you, new prospects will generally follow suit. This serves as a sort of mating shortcut for us: it's easier to trust others than do our own investigation. This is especially true for women. Studies show women will judge a man as more attractive if there is an attractive woman or two paying attention to him already. This may also explain why some women find themselves more attracted to a married man than they would if he was free. (tsk tsk)
#3. Your Style
We tend to be attracted to people within our own socioeconomic class, but why? People tend to feel those with similar income and dress will also share our values, interest, and opinions. As much as we may try to be impartial to these things - the hair, nails, shoes, and clothes a person dons are difficult for us to separate from the person inside.
#4. Your Appearance
Though individual preferences can vary greatly from person to person, some aspects of appearance are universally attractive to men and women. Average- sized and shaped features, fit body, symmetrical face, and clear skin are attractive to both sexes because they are indicators of good health and genetics. Where the sexes vary is in signs of sufficient sex hormones.
Men find signs of youth and high estrogen attractive: full lips, small noses, and high cheekbones. Women on the other hand, prefer more adult features and signs of testosterone, like a strong chin and nose. What about height and weight? It's true that a strong correlation exists between a woman's success in speed dating and her weight, and between men's success in speed dating and his height. However, if you don't happen to be a stick-thin woman or a particularly tall man, don't worry. In the end, most people end up with a partner of a similar build to their own.
#5. Your Mood
A cheerful disposition is attractive to both genders, but if the person you are trying to charm is having a bad day, you may have a hard time getting through to them. This is because when we're feeling depressed, our ability to read social cues is dulled, as is our ability to construct accurate first impressions.
#6. Your Charm
Charisma can go a long way when it comes to attraction. People who are confident in themselves inspire other's confidence in them as well. "If she/he like her/himself, there must be something about her/him worth liking." If you're not feeling particularly confident, fake it! Smile, make eye contact, and adjust your speech rate to meet theirs. They'll feel more connected with you, and if you keep it up, the act will become the reality.
#7. Your Body Language
Your mother had the right idea. Good posture and a pleasant expression register with others more quickly than our style or even our appearance. You can thank our mirror neurons for that. We empathize and emulate the feeling of others, so if we look happy, relaxed, and interested, others are more likely to feel the same. John Neffinger, an expert in nonverbal communication, offers this bit advice:
"Internally summon the attitude you''re trying to project... Think about what you felt like the last time you truly felt confident. Once you've recaptured that feeling, you'll stand tall as you walk into the room."
#8. Your Availability
Robert Greene, author of The Art of Seduction, offers advice to those looking for a date:
"When you don't seem too available, it makes you mysterious. Anything you do that makes their imagination take flight furthers the seduction process."
A drive to resolve uncertainty about a person's attraction to you can cause you to obsess over them and can actually deepen your feelings towards them. If one understand economics, the idea is similar - lower availability, higher demand. However, if you set your value too high, you risk them giving up. People want a person that's worth working for, but ultimately, they want a person who also wants them back.
#9. Your Wit
Though both men and women love a partner with a good sense of humor, it has different importance to each. For women, a man's sense of humor shows that he is creative and intelligent. For men, a woman that laughs at his jokes is signaling her sexual receptivity. In fact, studies show a similar sense of humor is important to long-term relationship success. And most men know the old adage:
"Make a woman laugh, and you can make her do anything."
Now you know! Keep these points of attraction in mind, and your next date is more likely to go smoothly and successfully. Just don't mention this article during the lull in dinner conversation! ;)
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