Making Physiology Happen


Feb 2019: Physiology of Attraction

iWorx Systems, Inc.
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Featured Experiment

Does tall, dark and handsome melt your soul like warm chocolate? Does a cute, little nose push all the right buttons? Why does someone make your heart palpitate and your palms go sweaty and you get tongue-tied just thinking about him/her?
There is a science to all this attractiveness. There are a number of factors that go into who we think is attractive, including personality traits, interests and values and physical appearance. But when it comes to those immediate physical attractions, we often don’t really know why. So, what is happening physiologically when the sight of a hot guy or girl makes us suddenly go weak in the knees. Both biology and psychology have some thoughts on this.

    * “Smell” - not actually what the person’s odor is, but more what their pheromones are.  Pheromones, secreted in certain glands, are known to be involved in sexual attraction in animals, and research suggests that they may also play a role for people. A type of pheromone called a “releaser” — which includes the compounds androstenone, androstadienone and androstenol — may be involved in sexual attraction.
    * “Fertility” - pheromones change the way females smell during their fertile time of the month.  Men can actually pick up on those subtle changes and generally find this “odor” more pleasant than with the same individual at other times of the month. This also coincides with a subtle change in facial features and sound of the voice, which men also find more attractive.
    * “Masculinity” - broad shoulders, strong jaw line, subtly bulging muscles are all considered virile traits for men.  “Strong” males generally have a slightly stronger sexual attractive pheromone smell as well.  It is assumed that men with these traits are more healthy and powerful than men without them.
    * “Personality” - even just looking at someone in real life or in a photo, it is thought that personality shows through and this could make you more attractive to another individual.  The way the person smiles, the “light” behind the eyes, the quirky lift of the eye brow, all contribute to making a person seem more kind than someone who is scowling or has drawn eye brows.
    * “General Attractiveness” - it is thought that these features are more attractive:
          o Narrower, symmetrical face shape - features that are more symmetrical are more pleasing to look at.
          o Fuller and more symmetrical lips.
          o Darker eye brows and eye lashes.
          o Upper half of the face is slightly broader than the lower.
          o Higher cheek bones.

All of this said, who we’re attracted to is still a very individual matter. While there is something of a science to the romantic and sexual partners we choose, at the end of the day, attraction is still completely unique to each of our individual makeups and preferences.

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