Psychology of attraction



Huda Saber, Bottom line writer

Attraction refers to the action of evoking interest or a liking for someone. According to Psychology Today, it can take on many forms, including liking, love, friendship and admiration. What factors influence the process of attraction? What makes men and women more attractive? 

Many factors influence who people are attracted to. This includes physical attractiveness, proximity and similarity. However, research shows that romantic attraction is primarily determined by physical attractiveness. In the early stages of dating, people are more attracted to partners whom they consider to be physically attractive. Men are more likely to value physical attractiveness than women. Moreover, people’s perception of their own physical attractiveness also plays a role in romantic love. The Matching Hypothesis proposes that people tend to pick partners who are about equal in level of attractiveness to themselves. 

In addition, people are more likely to become friends with those who are geographically close. One explanation for this is the mere exposure effect, which refers to people’s tendency to like stimuli more if they encounter them repeatedly. Moreover, people tend to pick partners who are alike to themselves in characteristics such as age, race, religion, social class, personality, education, intelligence and attitude. This similarity is seen not only between romantic partners but also between friends. Continuing on, some researchers have suggested that similarity causes attraction. Others acknowledge that people may be more likely to have friends and partners who are similar to themselves because of accessibility, as people are more likely to associate with people who are similar to themselves. However, a recent study conducted at the University of Dresden found that both men and women are naturally attracted to those with a different human leukocyte antigen than their own. This may suggest that opposites attract more than people who possess the same qualities. 

In regards to natural body scent, research conducted by the University of California Berkeley shows that women who breathe in testosterone in male sweat feel more attracted to them. After breathing in this substance for at least fifteen minutes, a woman may feel more aroused, happy and attentive to the man she is interacting with. This initial level of attraction can help facilitate a deeper conversation and connection that may lead to a new relationship. In both men and women, pheromones create the body’s natural scent and also stimulate attraction. More specifically, there are genes that produce pheromones that give each individual a special scent. These particular genes also generally encourage individuals who are distinctly different to become attracted to each other’s scent in order to strengthen the DNA of future generations for partners who have children together. 

All in all, many factors have the possibility to influence people on who they are interested in. These factors can be practical, like proximity, or shallow, like physical attractiveness. Also, attraction has a genetic component as well as these other factors.