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Subscriber active since. Romantic attraction is a complicated thing that scientists still don't completely understand. But, through research and experimentation, they've come up with many ideas about what draws one person to another. Below, Business Insider has rounded up some of the most compelling scientific insights about the traits and behaviors that make men more appealing to women. None of the items on this list require you to get cosmetic surgery or do a major personality overhaul; we're talking small tweaks, like acting nicer and swapping your deodorant.
This is an update of an article originally posted by Drake Baer. Rutgers University anthropologist and best-selling author Helen E. Fisher says that women around the world al interest with a remarkably similar sequence of expressions.
As she shared at Psychology Today , it goes like this:. Then she drops her eyelids, tilts her head down and to the side, and looks away. Frequently she also covers her face with her hands, giggling nervously as she retreats behind her palms. In one study from , researchers at the University of California at Berkeley looked at the behavior of 60 heterosexual male and 60 heterosexual female users on an online dating site. While the majority of users were inclined to reach out to highly attractive people, they were most likely to get a response if that person was about as attractive as they were as judged by independent raters.
If they are much less attractive, you are worried that you could do better. And a study from Cardiff Metropolitan University found that men pictured in a luxury apartment were rated more attractive than those in a control group.
Interestingly, men don't seem to be more attracted to women when they're pictured in a high-status context. In a study from the University of New South Wales, researchers had heterosexual men and heterosexual women look at images of 10 men in one of four conditions: clean-shaven, light stubble, heavy stubble, or full beard. Participants rated the men pictured on several traits, including attractiveness.
Dixson and Robert C. In a study from University of California, Los Angeles , women looked at pictures of shirtless men and indicated which ones seemed like they would make the best long- and short-term partners. showed that women were more likely to want short-term relationships with the guys who had big muscles. Characteristics like muscularity are "cues of genes that increase offspring viability or reproductive success," say authors David A. Frederick and Martie G. But Frederick and Haselton took away another telling finding: Less-muscular men were thought to be a better fit for long-term relationships.
So if you want to catch a woman's eye and hold her attention, you may be better off not going overboard. One of the best documented findings in psychology is the halo effect, a bias where you unconsciously take one aspect of somebody as a proxy for their overall character.
It's why we think beautiful people are good at their jobs, even when they aren't necessarily. As psychologist and writer Scott Barry Kaufman notes, the halo effect works in other ways, too. In a Chinese study , more than young people looked at images of men and women's faces and rated them on attractiveness. Each face pictured was paired with a word that described either a positive personality trait — like kindness or honesty — or a negative personality trait, like being evil or mean.
A cross-cultural study — with participants from China, England, Germany, and the US — found that women are most attracted to men wearing red. In one experiment from the study, 55 female undergr looked at a color photo of a man in either a red or green shirt, and then rated the man's attractiveness. Sure enough, the man was rated ificantly more attractive when he was wearing a red shirt. The were similar when researchers compared the red shirt to other color shirts as well. Interestingly, participants generally weren't aware that the man's clothing color was influencing their perceptions of his attractiveness.
Multiple studies indicate that women are more attracted to men who can make them laugh. Interestingly, men generally aren't more attracted to women who can make them laugh. In one study published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, researchers asked undergraduate students who didn't indicate their sexual orientation to say how much they valued a partner's ability to make them laugh and their own ability to make their partner laugh.
showed that women valued both their partner's sense of humor and their own ability to make their partner laugh; men valued only their own ability to make their partner laugh. In a experiment from the Ruppin Academic Center in Israel and the University of Michigan, Israeli women read vignettes about men. Some of the men were described as "c": They would cheat on their partner and get into fights.
The other men were described as stereotypical "d": They would work hard at their job and take good care of their kids. Whenever the story featured a cad who owned a dog, women rated that man as a more suitable long-term partner than a cad who didn't own a dog. C with dogs were even rated slightly more attractive than d with dogs. The researchers concluded that owning a pet als that you're nurturing and capable of making long-term commitments. It can also help you appear more relaxed, approachable, and happy. In a study , researchers at the University of Sussex asked about 1, women whose average age was 28 to listen to simple and complex pieces of music and rate the attractiveness of the composer.
The showed that women preferred the more complex music, and said they would choose the composer of the more complex music as a long-term partner. In , Australian researchers studied undergr participating in a speed-dating session, and found that mindful men tended to receive higher attractiveness ratings from women. Before the session began, 91 students were asked to fill out a mindfulness questionnaire in which they indicated how much they agreed with statements like:. After each interaction with an opposite-sex partner, students privately indicated how "sexy" they found their partner and how much they'd like to date that person.
showed that men were generally more drawn to physically attractive women. Independent coders had rated the students' attractiveness beforehand. But women were generally more attracted to mindful men. A study led by researchers at the University of Alaska at Anchorage found that women are attracted to men who take what the researchers call "hunter-gatherer risks. More than undergr filled out questionnaires about how attractive they would find a partner who engaged in certain risky behaviors, as opposed to a partner who engaged in low- or no-risk behaviors.
Hunter-gatherer risks included mountain biking, deep-sea scuba diving, and extreme rollerblading. Low- and no-risk behaviors included biking along paved paths and carefully handling chemicals in a chemistry-lab class. showed that women said they would be more attracted to men who engaged in hunter-gatherer risks — the kinds that were similar to risks faced by ancestral humans. Women said they would be less attracted to men who engaged in modern risks, which might seem just plain dumb. Simply knowing that you're wearing a new fragrance can make you act more confident , and even make you seem more attractive to other people.
In a small study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, researchers gave one group of male undergraduates a spray with antimicrobial ingredients and fragrance oil, and provided another group with an unscented spray that didn't contain antimicrobial ingredients. Over the next few days, the men who used the scented spray reported higher self-confidence and felt more attractive. The strange part?
When a group of women were shown silent videos of the men, they found those who were wearing scented spray more attractive, even though they obviously couldn't smell them. The researchers determined that the men using the scented spray displayed more confident behavior, which in turn made them more attractive.
The smell of garlic on your breath is generally regarded as an instant romance killer. But a series of studies from researchers at Charles University and the National Institute of Mental Health in the Czech Republic and the University of Stirling in the United Kingdom suggests a different story when it comes to body odor. In one study, eight men ate a slice of bread with cheese and 12 grams of fresh garlic; another eight ate bread and cheese without any garlic.
For the next 12 hours, the men wore cotton p under their armpits and were instructed not to use any deodorants or fragrances. The following day, all the men returned to the lab, where 40 women sniffed the p and rated the odor on pleasantness, attractiveness, masculinity, and intensity. showed that the garlic group was rated more pleasant and attractive and less masculine and intense.
A study from UK researchers found that women find men more appealing when they do volunteer work. About 30 women looked at a picture of a man with a brief description of his hobbies, which sometimes included volunteer work. The same procedure was repeated with about 30 men looking at a picture of a woman.
Everyone rated how attractive they found the person pictured for a short- and long-term relationship. Both genders rated the person pictured as more attractive for a long-term relationship when they were described as a volunteer — but the effect was stronger for women rating men. In a study , researchers at the University of Liverpool and the University of Stirling took photos of 24 male and 24 female undergr. They digitally manipulated half of the images so the subjects appeared to have facial scars — for example, a line on the person's forehead that looked like the result of an injury.
Then the researchers recruited another group of about heterosexual male and female undergr to rate all the people pictured based on attractiveness for both short- and long-term relationships. showed that men with scars appeared slightly more attractive for short-term relationships than men without scars. Women, on the other hand, were perceived as equally attractive regardless of whether they had scarred faces.
A study — from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Northwestern University — suggests that we're more attracted to people who display expansive body language. In one experiment included in the study, the researchers created profiles for three men and three women on a GPS-based dating app. In one set of profiles, the men and women were pictured in contractive positions — for example, by crossing their arms or hunching their shoulders. In the other set of profiles, the same men and women were pictured in expansive positions, like holding their arms upward in a "V" or reaching out to grab something.
showed that people in expansive postures were selected as potential dates more often than those in contractive postures. This effect was slightly larger for women selecting men. A University of British Columbia study revealed a curious finding: heterosexual men and women prefer different emotional expressions on potential mates.
In one experiment included in the study, researchers had nearly North American adults look at photos of opposite-sex individuals online. The researchers were specifically comparing people's perceptions of expressions of pride, happiness, shame, and neutrality other people had already identified the emotion behind the expression in the photo. For women evaluating men, the most appealing expression was pride, and the least appealing was happiness.
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