How does the science of attraction determine who we fall in love with?

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The truth behind science of attraction 

When it comes to meeting someone - whether you're searching for 'the one' or using the best sex apps for a fun time not a long time - what are you looking for? Someone who makes you laugh, orgasm and has a Netflix subscription?

That's the dream.

But there's a lot more to it than that. Unfortunately, perfect on paper doesn't always translate to attraction in real life. Even if they tick every box, you can't force chemistry.

So why does it happen? Why do we fall madly in love with some people and not others?

Health brand PureOptical has delved into the science of attraction, the biology behind it all and have pinpointed the reasons why you are drawn towards someone - how some people fall in love at first sight.

The Science of Attraction

How does science of attraction work? Let's take a look...

The science

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Credit: Burak Karademir / Getty

Dr Helen Fisher at Rutgers believes that attraction is driven by the same pathways in the brain that control the feeling of 'reward', which is why the initial stages of a relationship can feel so intense. Guess which hormone is produced when we're in love? Yes, of course - it's the feel-good dopamine. It causes elation and a sense of euphoria when we're around those that we love, and when surplus amounts of it are produced by the hypothalamus (the brains reward pathway) there is also the production of norepinephrine which can cause loss of appetite and affect our quality of sleep.

So there's something in the whole 'can't eat/can't sleep/can't do anything other than think of your new beau' when you're in love.

Scans show that the primary centre of the brain also sees a great spark when people are shown an image of someone that they are in love with as opposed to just an acquaintance that they know.

On top of all that, serotonin is released soon after meeting someone that we find attractive, which consequently has a huge impact on our feelings throughout the initial stages of a relationship. Team it with dopamine and you've got a pretty powerful combo which can be so influential that people believe they are experiencing love at first sight.

Childhood memories

According to Professor of Counselling Dr Kerulis, attraction often stems from, ‘our patterns of experiences in life, going back to early childhood’.

Essentially, we tie the people from our childhood memories to those that we meet in the present. Apparently, we try to copy and recreate those figures from our childhood and we are able to recognise personality traits of people in the present that are similar.

For example, if your bestie from primary school was taller than you it could explain why you're attracted to tall people now.

Hormones - but how?

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Credit: marrio31 / Getty

Research suggests that our hormones could affect how we feel about a potential partner. If a male holds high levels of testosterone they could be more attracted to women who are considered more feminine. It doesn't, however, make a man any more attractive than someone with a lower level of testosterone, FYI.

Eye think it's love at first sight

A study by the University of Chicago found that eye contact is pretty important when it comes to the science of attraction. It focused on eye movements and determined whether or not there was a difference between the movements when it comes to love and lust.

Scientists showed participants images of romantic love as well as images focused on lust. It found that people are more likely to focus on the faces of those that were in love, and the bodies of those showcasing lust - meaning that eye contact has a very important role to play in love at first sight.

Deep voices

Several studies have found that women find men with a low voice more attractive - and interestingly, this is particularly true when they are ovulating. This could be because deeper voices are linked to producing healthy children.

John Wilson at Pure Optical says: 'Attraction can stem from childhood memories and association. However, it can also grow as a result of consistent communication.

'Eye contact for example is a form of body language and indicates that you are holding full focus on the person that you are communicating with.

'This can strengthen relationships and serves as a means to distinguish yourself from others.'

Jadie Troy-Pryde
News Editor

Jadie Troy-Pryde is News Editor, covering celebrity and entertainment, royal, lifestyle and viral news. Before joining the team in 2018 as the Lifestyle and Social Media Editor, she worked at a number of women’s fashion and lifestyle titles including Grazia, Women’s Health and Stylist, and now heads the Marie Claire UK news desk.