Have you ever had the feeling that, when you're in a relationship, you only have eyes for your partner? Like they're the only person in the room? Well, science may be backing you up. Recent research shows that people in relationships see other people as less attractive — especially those of the opposite sex.
Researchers from Rutgers University and New York University published their findings in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. They looked at 131 college students and then replicated the experiment on a group of 114 students, and found that people in relationships downgraded the appearance of other people— ranking them as less attractive than single people did or those in unhappy relationships did. And it may be that, from an evolutionary perspective, it helps prevent cheating. Study author Dr. Shana Cole tells ZME Science: "Misperceiving attractive people who represent threats to the relationship as less attractive may help people resist the inclination to pursue them. This is especially important since finding someone physically attractive is a primary reason why people choose to date or romantically pursue someone."
So it is ultimately better for our relationships if we view others as less attractive, because it means we're less interested in them and keeps our relationship stable. In that way, you really do only have eyes for your partner.
But being in a relationship is not the only thing that can affect how attractive we find people. Here are some other weird factors:
1. How Much They Mimic You
Not in the way your little brother did when you were five. Instead, I mean subtly mimicking body language. You might not even notice it's happening, but it works. Research in Social Psychology Bulletin found that mirroring body language makes you seem more attractive. Just don't go over the top — it could get creepy real quick.
2. What Color They're Wearing
Bad news for someone like me who dresses like a goth with a penchant for sweatpants, but it turns out we see someone as more attractive if they wear a certain color. That's right — research from University of Rochester found that women were perceived as more attractive when they wore red. Talk about an easy way to change up your look.
3. How Long You've Stared At Them
I know it sounds stalker-like, but it's a thing. A study published in Psychological Science found that perception of attractiveness was linked to how much focus had been given. As in, a face that you stare at and actually focus on seems more attractive than others. So looking into each other's eyes isn't just silly and soppy, it's making you seem hotter.
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