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The science of attraction

Kelsey Bundra
Assoc. Features Editor

Attraction: it is all in our heads. Literally. The brain is the organ responsible for the butterflies we get in our stomachs when we see a special someone. Because of this, there is a definite science to attraction.
Even if people do not plan to have children, they are wired to pick a suitable mate. “When we are attracted to somebody, it could be because subconsciously we like their genes,” reports BBC. We do not think we are considering these factors when attracted to someone, but it plays a hidden role.
The evolutionary need to repopulate human society influenced early man and still remains imprinted in the brain. “As the evolution theory goes, if a creature mates with a weaker mate, the off-springs are also weak and may not be able to survive against this harsh nature,” says Prokerala.com. Though Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection is not as relevant in current society, our brains have not moved completely past it.

We are usually attracted to signs that a person is healthy. One thing that a person might see as healthy may vary. We also subconsciously seek out people who do not have the same genetics as us. “Several studies have shown that women are attracted to the scents of men whose immunity genes are most dissimilar to their own,” explains Science20.com. If we mate with someone genetically similar to us, the chance of having a hereditarily inherited disease increases.

We subconsciously seek out people who do not have the same genetics as us.
We subconsciously seek out people who do not have the same genetics as us.

Specific information of the other’s genes can be communicated through saliva according to Science20.com. This may be the reason why people kiss each other.
It is proven that animals mate due to pheromones being detected by a potential mate, but little research has shown that pheromones affect humans in the same way. However, the way a person smells is influenced by hormones. According to a study cited by the Huffington Post, women have a preference for men that smell of a higher level of testosterone. The preference for women is determined by their peak fertility.

Peak fertility is the time of the month in which a woman is ovulating and most likely to get pregnant. Men receive the hormones that she is putting out and become more attracted to an ovulating woman. The Huffington Post concludes this is also an innate method in order to repopulate the human species. Women are more likely to be attracted to a “more masculine” man during ovulation.

The Huffington Post explains the reason behind why some women and men’s voices automatically change when talking to a person they are interested in. High pitched voices in females are often associated with high levels of estrogen. Lower voices are connected with high levels of testosterone. People usually do not notice that their voice changes until others point it out.

The color a person dons also subconsciously affects how attractive they are perceived. A University of Rochester study uncovered that women and men wearing red compared to women and men wearing blue were found more attractive. The “color affect” also occurs in non-human primates. Another factor that one may not think to consider is how old their parents were when they had their children. According to a study done by University of St. Andrews, people born to older parents are less “impressed by youth.”

Attraction can come about from the “mere exposure effect.” This effect is a widely accepted psychological phenomenon that explains that the more someone is exposed to a stimulus, the more they like it. Science20.com concludes that consistently being around a person can make them attracted to you. Despite being initially attracted to someone, a person has to be intrigued by his or her personality for it to last. Attraction, though important, should not be everything in a serious relationship.