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But when someone agrees with us, they validate our worldviews and as result we want continuing contact with that person.Knowing all this, is it possible to predict with any accuracy whether two people will form a stable relationship? One the difficulties with these sorts of predictions is that relationships are complex and often messy.
And my own research has shown that love sometimes really is blind.Viren Swami does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.Anglia Ruskin University provides funding as a member of The Conversation UK.But too often those opinions were based on anecdotes, assumptions about human behaviour I knew to be wrong, or – worse – pure misogyny.As a psychologist who has studied attraction, I felt certain that science could offer a better understanding of romantic attraction than all the self-help experts, pick-up artists and agony aunts in the world.Human psychology is too complex to reduce to rules or laws of attraction – but that’s not the same as saying that there’s nothing to be gained from understanding the processes involved in attraction.
Understanding the science of attraction can’t guarantee you a date tonight, but it can point the way towards forming mutually benefiting relationships with other people. Well, first, it turns out that one of the strongest predictors of whether any two people will form a relationship is sheer physical proximity.
After all, the point of online dating is eventually to meet someone offline – and it costs more time and money to meet someone who lives further away.
Proximity matters because it increases the chances people will interact and come to feel part of the same “social unit”. People perceived to be physically attractive get asked out on dates more often and receive more messages on online dating sites.
They even have sex more often and, apparently, have more orgasms during sex.
But physical attractiveness matters most in the absence of social interaction.
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