The Tech Herald

Revealed: the secret of sexual attraction

by Rich Bowden - Sep 9 2008, 05:10

Photo: The Kiss. Credit: *Riot*/Flickr

British researchers have revealed that good old-fashioned honesty can increase a person's physical attraction.

Scientists at the University of Aberdeen have shown that by maintaining eye contact with a person and saying "I like you" it's possible to trigger a response that leads to them finding you more attractive.

"Previous research on attraction has emphasized the importance of physical characteristics such as facial symmetry or voice pitch. However new findings show that attractiveness is not as straightforward as simply preferring flawless skin or symmetric features – it is a much more complex process," said Dr. Ben Jones, from the University of Aberdeen's Face Research Laboratory. 

"Our latest research highlights how social cues, which signal the extent to which others are attracted to you, also play a crucial role in attraction," he said. "For example people show stronger preferences for attractive physical cues when judging the faces and voices of people who appear willing to reciprocate this attraction, either by making eye contact, smiling or even by simply stating that they 'really like you'."

"Combining information about others' physical beauty with information about how attracted they appear to be to you allows people to allocate their social effort efficiently and essentially avoid wasting effort on attractive individuals who appear unlikely to reciprocate," added Dr. Jones, meaning the research can be used by people to not waste time on those who are clearly not interested in a relationship.

As part of the research, Dr. Jones and his colleague Dr. Lisa DeBruine, showed a total of 230 men and women four flash cards showing a face with four different expressions. The face is shown making eye contact and not smiling; not making eye contact and not smiling; making eye contact and not smiling; and making eye contact and smiling.

Dr. Jones said: "What we found was that the preference for the attractive face was much stronger when people were judging those faces that were looking at them and smiling."

The findings are published in the journal Psychological Science.

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