Attraction isn’t only about looks. It’s about a certain primal magnetism…we can be physically attracted to someone. But we more often admire their confidence, passion and personality. Being attractive is about more than just appearance.
Have you ever observed a couple for any period of time and wondered: what in the heck is he/she doing with him/her? If so, don’t fret. Most of us have had these thoughts at one time or another.
The psychology of attraction is remarkably complex and mysterious. Many of us have felt an attraction toward someone while unable to articulate the rationale for such. In contrast, many of us have felt repelled by someone and are still unable to explain why. Indeed, such feelings are often difficult to rationalize.
Some argue that attraction has a little-to-no correlation with rational thought, and such hypotheses often carry significant merit. Now, while we’re not here to debate the rationality or irrationality of attraction, scientific research has unequivocally proven that a link does exist between attraction and neuropsychology.
This interlinkage between science and attraction is the focus of this article. Specifically, we’ll detail and elaborate upon five such mechanisms of attraction and attempt to explain the science behind these mechanisms.
Try These Five Things to Be More Attractive:
1. Be entertaining
Boredom is not an emotional state that the brain handles well. It is wired to crave novelty, engagement, and fulfillment – a fact that is easily observed during infancy.
If we’re honest, we can confidently state that some people are more boring than others – but it isn’t that simple. Boredom is a relative term; some are bored by sports, others entranced; some are disengaged with politics, others volunteer…and so on.
Similarly, a person’s personality, train of thought, sense of humor, etc., can be entertaining or boring and is strictly dependent upon the observer. Understanding this, it is important to nourish a person’s need for originality by being (naturally) entertaining. If you’re (in their eyes) humdrum, attraction is impossible.
2. Act quickly
Dr. John Medina – a molecular biologist and author of Brain Rules – discovered that humans have a shorter attention span than a GOLDFISH: less than eight seconds to be exact.
As we’ve already noted, the human brain requires novelty to invoke feelings of attraction; it turns out that attraction also requires an expeditious first impression. Therefore, if we intend to attract that gentleman or gentlewoman, it behooves us to act quickly.
Quick question: what is the attention span of an unentertained human being? Well, we don’t really know…but it’s probably much less than eight seconds.
3. Use “open” body language
Research shows that body language is among the most important drivers of attraction. More specifically, positioning the body to convey “openness’ is among the most important drivers of attraction.
Open body language is important because it physically communicates availability. Oppositely, “closed off” body language – crossing arms, clutching a cell phone, turning away – indicates an unavailable person. So, remain upright with your upper body and act naturally. Additionally, keep both hands visible and use them freely when communicating.
For men, this is of particular importance. Open and relaxed body language exudes confidence, arguably the most attractive trait from a woman’s perspective.
This segues rather well into the next item on our list…
4. Smile often
While it’s true that being told to “smile more” is incredibly annoying – not to mention rude – the act of smiling is a scientifically-valid attraction trigger.
Researchers at the University of Bern examined this relationship between attraction and smiling in two different experiments. During the first (and most telling) experiment, participants viewed a series of photographs consisting of alternating expressions of outward happiness (smiling) and other varying expressions. The participants were then asked to gauge the relative attractiveness of the photographs.
The researchers summarized: “The results of Experiment 1 revealed that the evaluation of attractiveness is strongly influenced by the intensive of a smile expressed on a face: A happy facial expression could even compensate for relative unattractiveness.”
5. Have a sense of humor
Here’s a quick diversion from the scientific. Ask a close female friend if they’ve seen any Mike Myers or Jim Carrey films (e.g., the “Austin Powers” or “Ace Ventura” series). If so, ask them if they found Myers’ or Carrey’s characters to be attractive.
If you’re uncomfortable doing this, YouTube Myers or Carrey movie clips and sift through the comments – many women find both men to be highly attractive.
Why is this?
Myers and Carrey are not necessarily physically-unattractive men (again, all relative), but they’re not Brad Pitt or George Clooney, either. But, Myers and Carrey demonstrate an inimitably-powerful sense of humor, namely making people laugh (hysterically).
Okay, back to science *sigh*. When we laugh, the brain releases a potent concoction of “feel good” chemicals: endorphins, oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals both stimulate and enhance feelings of attraction in the short-term. Over time, these chemical interactions strengthen and reinforce the relational dynamics of humor. In essence, “closing the gap,” if any, that exists between two individuals; thereby either (a) strengthening a present relationship, or (b) systemically enhancing attraction to the humorous person.