The Mystery of Attraction By William M. Vega
What drives Attraction? • I chose this question because it’s something I’ve wondered about my whole life. What makes a person attractive? Why is this person any more attractive than that person? Are looks everything? Or is it something more?
What is attraction? • Generally speaking, an attraction is what draws a person to an object, person, place, or thing. Attraction manifests itself in a lot of ways. Physical, Interpersonal, Sexual, etc.
Biological • There are various biological aspects to attraction. • Smell • Facial Symmetry • Hormones • Voice Patterns
Smell • Smells are processed by the brain in a manner similar to emotions. • Major histocompatibility complex • “The MHC sections of our DNA that determine what diseases our immune system is equipped to fight. There are over 100 genes in this region. No MHC is the same nor do two people smell the same.”(Andreae,2010) • Pheromones ( Scented Sex Hormones) • Pheromones are sex hormones that can attract people to one another. Men and women have their own set of Pheromones.
Incest • Relatives give off a certain scent that is designed to drive off and disgust their female family members. • Woman have are repulsed by the subtle scent of their male family members • Proximity • People who lived closely together during their early childhood years become immune to future sexual attraction to each other after the onset of puberty.
Symmetry • “Faces with more Symmetry have higher mate value”(Andreae,2010) • Thus faces that are more symmetrical are more attractive than those that are not.
Hormones • Androstenol and Androstenone • Androstenolis made by the sweat of men generally after it is first produced by the body. This is attractive to women. • Androstenone is made by sweat from men after exposure to oxygen. This is generally unattractive to women. • Androstenone is the stinky after workout smell most women are used to finding on a man. • Copulance • Copulance is a female hormone that can cause a spike in male testosterone levels. This can have the side effect of rendering a man unable to tell the difference between an attractive female and unattractive female. • Testosterone can impair a man’s ability to think clearly.
Voice Patterns • The voices of women change if they are ovulating. They become more high pitched and feminine. • Men find the voice of a woman who is ovulating more attractive than that of one who is not. • More often than not, Men won’t even notice this. • Women prefer deeper, more masculine voices.
Social • Status • Physical Attractiveness • Interpersonal Attraction
Status • Status is a huge factor in determining people’s perceptions of one another. • Women find men of a higher social class much more than men who are in a lesser social class. • This means women are more likely to be attracted to a rich guy than someone who isn’t rich. • Men aren’t affected by social status and would not prefer a rich woman to one who isn’t.
Physical Attraction • Skin plays a role in determining physical attraction due to genetic cues in DNA. • Body movements can send messages that can make a person seem more attractive. • Women find movements that express a masculine demeanor more attractive. • Men prefer body movements that are feminine.
Interpersonal Attraction • “Attractions that lead to interpersonal relationships such as friendships and courtships.” (Interpersonal Attraction, Web. 15 Nov. 2013) • Propinquity. “People you interact with more are more likely to be friends or more.” (Interpersonal Attraction, Web. 15 Nov. 2013) • Exposure Effect • “Similarity plays a huge role in interpersonal attraction.” (Interpersonal Attraction, Web. 15 Nov. 2013)
Social Surveys • I conducted two types of experiments. • Date : November, 10th 2013 • Place: Online • For the first experiment, I surveyed over 15 people and asked them to rate 10 of their past partners/love interests on a scale of 1-10 according to attractiveness. Then I had them rate themselves.
Survey Results • The purpose of the experiment was to find a correlation between one’s personal perception of their own attractiveness and the attractiveness of chosen love interests and partners. • A pattern was found in which participants started choosing partners with high levels of attractiveness then scaled down before scaling up. • This tells me that socially, we all aim for partners with a high level of attractiveness but then slowly look for partners in our own level of attractiveness.
Facial Experiment • I put the face of several celebrities considered attractive on a Facial Beauty/ Symmetry Analysis website. • Results showed that all celebrities have a high level of facial symmetry. • I also tested it on my own face out of curiosity. I found that the results were reliable. I have some obvious imperfections such as long ears and in the analysis, and this is pointed out while also showing in what ways my face was symmetrical.
Conclusion • There is no clear cut answer on what drives attraction. • It could be all of these things or none of these things. • I believe physical attraction is not the definitive factor in determining attraction as a whole. If this were true, then everyone would be attracted to the same type of person. It is apparent that attraction is driven by many different forces that cannot all be understood. • I personally believe the answer is a mixture of all I learned during this extensive research process and more. Certainly only time will tell what the one true answer is.
Bibliography • Barker, Eric. "20 Scientific Insights About Sex And Attraction." Business Insider. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2013. • McDonnell, Charlie, Kat Akingbade, and Derren. "The Science of Attraction." The Science of Attraction. Scienceofattraction.com, n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2013. • Carey, Bjorn. "The Rules of Attraction in the Game of Love." LiveScience.com. Www.livescience.com, 13 Feb. 2006. Web. 15 Nov. 2013. • Cooper-White, Macrina. "It's Better To Be Average." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 05 Sept. 2013. Web. 13 Nov. 2013. • Herz, Rachel. "The Science Of Scent & Attraction." AskMen. AskMen.com, n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. <http://www.askmen.com/scent/scent_300/313_the-science-behind-scent-attraction.html>. • "The Smell Report." Http://www.sirc.org/. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2013. • "Anaface - Facial Beauty Analysis - Score Your Face." Anaface - Facial Beauty Analysis - Score Your Face. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. • " ." Athena Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2013. • "Interpersonal Attraction: From First Impressions to Close Relationships."http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2013. <http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~haw4/psy250ch1 • Irvine, William Braxton. On Desire: Why We Want What We Want. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. Print. • The science of sex appeal. Dir. Simon Andreae. Perf. Alan Dunn and Farrah Shaikh. Discovery Communications, 2010. Film.
Bibliography (Continued) • Svoboda, Elizabeth. "Scents and Sensibility ." Psychology Today. N.p., 1 Jan. 2008. Web. 17 Nov. 2013. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200712/scents-and-sensibility>. • Welsh, Jennifer . "Samantha Brick's Claim Reveals Science of Beauty."LiveScience.com. N.p., 6 Apr. 2012. Web. 16 Nov. 2013. <http://www.livescience.com/19553-samantha-brick-beauty.html>. • Braswell, Sean. "The Sound of Hot."Ozymandias. N.p., 28 Sept. 2013. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. <http://www.ozy.com/resolved/voice-physical-attraction/1525.article>. • Welsh, Jennifer . "Samantha Brick's Claim Reveals Science of Beauty."LiveScience.com. N.p., 6 Apr. 2012. Web. 16 Nov. 2013. <http://www.livescience.com/19553-samantha-brick-beauty.html>. • "Man's Healthy Skin Sexually Attractive to Women." LiveScience.com. N.p., 2 Feb. 2012. Web. 16 Nov. 2013. <http://www.livescience.com/18414-healthy-skin-attraction.html>. • Biello, David. "Evolving a Mechanism to Avoid Sex with Siblings: Scientific American." Evolving a Mechanism to Avoid Sex with Siblings: Scientific American. N.p., 15 Feb. 2007. Web. 15 Nov. 2013. <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=evolving-mechanism-avoid-sibling-sex>.