A Bit Of Science Behind Human Attraction

Written by Dave Rich

On April 13, 2014

When it comes to describing an ideal romantic partner, we all have our favorite features, but there are times when everything goes out the window and we simply KNOW that a particular someone is the one, even if they don’t quite match what we’ve idealized. More often than not, we might not even be too sure ourselves of what we want in a partner. However, there is actually a science to how human attraction works. If you are interested in learning more, here are a few turn-ons that science has so far discovered.


While there’s more to beauty than just symmetry, it’s hard to dispute the fact that the most beautiful people are known to have the most symmetrical features. Dr. Kendra Schmid, an assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center uses 29 different measurements and rates them on a scale of 1-10 to determine the perfect face.

“To start, Dr. Schmid says the ratio of the length of the face to the width of the face should be 1.6, also known as the golden ratio. ‘The face should also be divided into three equal pieces vertically,’ she says. ‘The forehead, then [the bottom of the forehead to] the nose and then from the nose to the chin.'”

According to her measurements, Brad Pitt scored the highest with a 9.3, with his partner Angelina Jolie scoring a more than respectable 7.67. Interestingly though, the thing that’s lowering Jolie’s score is her full lips because they are too large in comparison to the width of her mouth. Schmid says most people would rate between 4 and 6 using her scale.


One old saying that you might want to ignore from now on is that opposites attract. That might be true in magnetism, but it certainly isn’t when it comes to human attraction. According to renowned matchmaker Patti Stanger:

“Opposites really don’t attract. Being similar to your partner is what makes for a successful long-term relationship. And even with initial attraction, looking the same – similar in upbringing, similar in race and similar in style – makes for a stronger attraction. You’re more likely to fall for someone who looks more like you.”

It makes sense, really. You’re simply more likely to get along with someone who shares the same views, upbringing or even appearances as you.

The Color Red

The color red is highly symbolic across cultures. It is one of the most common colors used among sports teams, not to mention associated with sex, passion, blood, wealth and power. When it comes to attraction, it has a noticeable impact on men. According to Eric Barker on BusinessInsider.com:

“In Experiment 1, men who viewed an ostensible conversation partner in a red versus a green shirt chose to ask her more intimate questions. In Experiment 2, men who viewed an ostensible interaction partner in a red versus a blue shirt chose to sit closer to her.”

Of course, it has an effect on women too, although not as noticeable. PsychCentral.com says:

“Eliot found that the impact of the color red made the man seem more powerful, attractive, and sexually desirable. However, the color red did not make the man seem more likable, kind, or sociable. In addition, when the male study participants were asked to view and rate the attractiveness of a pictured male, the color of the clothing or border made no difference in their responses.”

In addition to this change in perception, men who wear red are viewed in higher status. They were seen as more likely to become successful at their jobs or business. This perception of status is another thing that can lead to attraction in women. Previous research had previously shown that men were much more sensitive to the color red than women were. However, the perceived effect of red also depends on the context in which it is being used.

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