Some of us are pretty unlucky in love. The old tricks of buying flowers, buying dinner and whispering sweet nothings just isn’t working. Perhaps its time to turn to science to win us the heart of that special person. But can science successfully play Cupid? Here are some tips from society’s most lucky in love, the scientists.
Make your Body talk
Forget the pick up lines. Body language is more important than the smoothest of opening lines. When you meet someone for the first time, 55% of the initial impression is based on your body language, 38% is based on the tone, speed and style of your voice and only 7% on what you actually say! So what sort of body language should we employ? Mirroring the other person’s movements and posture is a good start. Most people do not realise they are being mirrored, but will view you favourably. Adopting particularly masculine or feminine postures can also help, like putting your hands in your pockets to puff out your chest.
When I look into your eyes...
It may seem like a pretty simple act, but looking into someone’s eyes can have a powerful impact. Gazing into someone’s eyes lights up parts of the brain associated with feeling good. Psychologist Arthur Arun performed an interesting study where he asked people, who had previously never met, to stare into each other’s eyes for four minutes. Their feelings of attraction rocketed compared to staring at other parts of the body. Indeed, one of these couples ended up getting married!
Our pupils dilate when we are interested in at what we are looking, and it has been shown that people are attracted to large pupils – in the way that people find big-eyed puppies cute! Indeed, in medieval Italy, ladies put bella donna in their eyes to make them look bigger. This is not particularly wide spread these days, as bella donna is a poison!
Be afraid, be very afraid
There is a strong connection between anxiety, arousal and attraction, and it has been found that couples who meet when physiologically aroused, or who experience fear together on a first date, have an increased chance of having romantic feelings for each other. No one is quite sure why this happens – it could be that the adrenaline rush from the danger is misinterpreted as attraction – but it suggests that a bungee jump first date could be a good idea. Or at least, choose the suspense or horror film over the chick flick.
Love and laughter go together. If you can make your partner laugh, you have a stronger chance of them falling for you. If you have ever noticed that couples in love tend to find each other funny whilst the rest of us think that their jokes are pretty bad, it is because a compatible sense of humour seems to be one of the keys to love.
Can there be more than one “one and only”?
Do we each only have one “soul mate”? Is there really such a thing as finding your one and only beloved in a world of over 6 billion people? Evolutionary psychologists at Indiana and New Mexico Universities used computer simulations to examine this question of how to best choose your partner from a set of prospective lovers. They set up their experiment such that the person making the choice of partner examined a bunch of potential partners to determine how attractive they were, and how high he should set his sights. Once this decision is made, based on those prospective partners he has seen, he goes for the next person who he comes across that fits his criteria.
The researchers found that one should only examine 9% of all the possible partners out there, before making your choice. For example, if you were at a party of 100 people looking for love, you should only scrutinize the first 9 possible mates you come across before focusing your attention on that special someone. Examining less than this number means that you do not collect enough information to make a good choice. On the other hand, examining more means that it is more likely that you wont choose your best possible choice as they are more likely to be amongst those you examined and then ignored before choosing. Whilst this model is far too simplistic to be an accurate representation of the search for love, it tells us that we should not search forever, as it is likely that we may let our true love pass us by.
So let us know how these tips work for you, as it would seem that love does not follow a rulebook.
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