Why People Fall In Love: The Science Behind It
People fall in love on a daily basis — but have you ever wondered about the science behind it? In recent times, researchers have studied what might be called “the rules of attraction.” What is it that sparks chemistry between lovers? While it’s never any one thing, there are some specific factors that seem to come up time and time again:
A University of Chicago survey has shown that those who value altruism as one of their core values have stronger, happier marriages than those who do not. However, kindness should always be balanced with an ability to say “no.” Chronic people-pleasers tend to be less emotionally healthy over time.
While physical attractiveness may be only skin-deep, it’s been proven that women typically prefer males whose faces are symmetrical. The reasons are related to “survival of the fittest” — symmetry is seen as a sign of good health. A woman’s waist-to-hip ratio has the same effect on a man; a University of Texas study found that women with low waist-to-hip ratios were considered more attractive by most men. Researchers believe this ratio subconsciously signals reproductive ability and health. Interestingly, a study published in Psychological Science found men from cultures where resources are scarce tend to find heavier females more attractive. The extra pounds may be seen as a status symbol, signaling the means to purchase lots of food. Conversely, skinny people tend to be idealized in cultures where resources are abundant.
Opposites Attract — at First
While choosing your polar opposite as a mate can be very exciting for short-term relationships, research has shown that longer-term pairings are more likely to work between partners who resemble each other in values, preferences and political leanings.
Genetics and Proximity
An Italian study found that persons with similar relationship styles carried specific biological markers within their brains, and others with these markers were drawn to them. Also, the tendency to pair with someone who lives near you has more to do with cultural values than an aversion to long-term relationships. You’re simply more likely to click long-term with someone who shares your regional values.
While the components of attraction may provide some insights into why we fall in love, ultimately love will remain more art than science — and thank goodness for that!