A handsome face, a beautiful body, a good sense of humor, a confident appearance: all things that cause people to fall in love with you. At least, that is what you would think.
According to psychologist Nick Hobson, an attraction between people is a bit more complex than that. The brain makes things more complicated than they actually are. It takes small bits of information from multiple sources which make you fall in love with someone – and the other way around. To make it even more difficult, your brain processes this information subconsciously most of the time, and this information has nothing to do with the person in question. Even something as feeble as the weather during your first meeting can make a difference. Just like the location of where you first met, what he or she was wearing, how you were feeling that day, etc.
Without you noticing, many very small processes take place in your brain the moment you think “This is the one!”. So, from now on don’t worry as much about not going to the gym this week or a bad hair day. It might just be that someone falls in love with you because of the following strange causes:
In a heightened emotional state (think: sweaty palms, shortage of breath, increased heart rate), people feel attracted easier to the person that is with them during that time. Going through a thrilling experience together can make your object of affection find you even more attractive. This is because people are rather bad in identifying the original source of their psychic and emotional excitement. When you watch a horror movie together, the tension this causes can be seen as infatuation.
Comparable to the above, there is a link between feelings of fear and feelings of sexual arousal. The more frightened or nervous someone is during the first meeting with a possible partner, the more he or she feels attracted to them. Just like when you are watching a horror movie together, the feeling of fear is easily confused with love at first sight.
The phase of your cycle could have an influence on who you do and do not find attractive during your most fertile phase. Women who are ovulating prefer “manly” men. And men are – subconsciously – more attracted to a woman when she is ovulating, compared to right before or after.
The chance to feel attracted to someone increases when you live close to each other. This is called the proximity effect. Because you – without you noticing – run into each other often, for instance on the street or in the supermarket. Someone feels familiar. Your brain likes this feeling. When someone feels familiar, it makes it easier to start speaking with someone or invite them on a date.
Research in 2017 stated that mostly homosexual men and heterosexual women feel attracted to a body type that has similarities with that of their father. This was even more so for women who had a positive relationship with their father. When you have a great relationship with your parent, you are more inclined to find a partner that reminds you of this parent.
In 2016 a research was done on the non-verbal behavior of men and women during a speed date. The people who use much body language had a 76 percent higher chance to be asked on a second date. People with a bad posture of defensive body language, like crossed arms, created the impression of being closed off and disinterest.
Your own, natural body odor plays an important part in attraction. Researches of Macquarie University in Australia discovered that women are sooner attracted to men who eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, compared to men who eat many carbohydrates, like pasta and bread. Apparently the sweat of people with a diet that consists of (more) vegetables smells better.
Text: Sanne Eva Dijkstra