Recently I spoke at an international conference of matchmakers and dating coaches. My topic: Attraction. This topic, to me, is certainly fascinating—which explains why my research career began with exploring this complex perception. What follows, then, is a list of some intriguing findings from research exploring the attraction process.
1. Attraction is not only physical. We are drawn to others based on their skills (task attraction) and interpersonal behavior (social attraction).
2. Babies stare longer at pictures featuring attractive faces.
3. Opposites do not attract. In fact, similarity is a driving force in bringing people together.
4. Sometimes, what draws us to someone is the same reason why we terminate the relationship. This process is called fatal attraction (read more here)
5. In our studies of speed dating, we found that individuals identified good communication behaviors (smiling, eye contact) as driving forces in positive initial impressions (read more here).
6. Researchers proposed that individuals date people of similar levels of attractiveness. This is called the Matching Hypothesis.
Interested in learning more? I summarized research exploring perceptions of attractiveness in the International Encyclopedia of Interpersonal Communication. You can find a more elaborate discussion, and accompanying citations, in that entry.
Horan, S. M. (2016). Physical and social attractiveness. In C. Berger and M. Roloff’s (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of interpersonal communication. Hoboken, NY: Wiley-Blackwell.