Sarah Title, titlese@muohio.edu

You’re on your way to class and a smoldering, muscular dark-eyed guy walks past. Your heart skips a beat and you’re suddenly wondering, did I put on deodorant? Does my hair look okay? You’ve never met this incredibly attractive fellow classmate of yours, yet you feel the butterflies in your stomach.

Or you’re out at a party and you and someone really hit it off. You can’t stop thinking about the encounter for days and wonder when fate will bring the two of you back together.

We cross paths with hundreds of people everyday, but how come some of them can create a butterfly effect and so many others fade into the background of our busy lives?

There are many aspects that filter into our subconscious and affect the way we view people and become attracted to them.

Despite our best efforts to believe that we aren’t shallow and truly chose personality over looks, biology will not let us.

According to Social Psychology, research shows the number one factor in determining a romantic partner is physical attractiveness.

Psychologists believe that facial symmetry is a major factor in determining level of attractiveness.

Biologically, symmetric facial characteristics equal high reproduction ability and good health, something humans subconsciously take into account when looking for the perfect mate.

Ever wonder why celebrities such as Hugh Hefner or Jake Gyllenhaal go for girls 10 or more years younger? According to evolutionary psychologists, men value the youthfulness of their partners because it indicates fertility and successful reproduction. Girls like Taylor Swift and Hayden Panettiere go for older men with wealth and social status because characteristics such as those indicate they will be able to successfully provide for offspring.

Our perceptions about our self also come into play when selecting a romantic partner.

Psychologists believe we tend to pick people who we believe are at the same level of attractiveness as us.

This is why celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt end up together.

When we declare certain people as being “out of our league,” our self-confidence is diminishing.

When two co-workers have a fling or two people living in the same dorm begin dating, it is not merely coincidence. Proximity is a major factor that plays a part in the psychology of attraction.

The more time you spend with someone, the more likely you are to like him or her. The time you are spending together is usually because you share similar interests. Two actors who meet while filming a movie are likely to end up romantically involved because of the time they spent together doing something they both enjoyed.

The more you encounter someone, the more likely you are to have positive feelings towards the idea of that person.

We all have that friend who is in that bad relationship with that terrible person. We all know they are bad for him or her, perhaps they know it too, yet they continue to punish themselves by staying or getting back together with them time and time again.

Psychologists have sought to explain this self-destruction and conclude that a lack of introspection or self-knowledge can result in this situation. If you are out of touch with your personal needs and desires, you may be looking to settle for what you think is best without even realizing it. The more you know about yourself, the easier it will be to find a partner who can give you what you need.

All evolution, biology and psychology aside, attraction is a reflection of how you view the world around you.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” rings true with any relationship you develop. Attractiveness cannot be defined in a word, as it varies across person, gender and culture. People can decide for themselves what they want to get out of a romantic relationship and seek someone who can fulfill their desires.

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