What is an attraction? The urge or desire to be with the person. The instant increase in heart rate, dilation of pupils, and many other physiological changes happens when you are around an attractive person. This is one of the most important nature of sexual organisms. This attraction is ultimately one of the driving forces for reproduction. Over the billions of years of evolution, animals have developed attraction as a characteristic to allow selection of a potential better reproductive partner.
A scientific law is a statement based on repeated experimental observations that describes some aspects of the universe. A scientific law always applies under the same conditions, and implies that there is a causal relationship involving its elements.
This is what Wikipedia says about a law. So, is there a law explaining the attraction between humans? It’s not that straightforward compared to Newton’s law of motion or even second law of thermodynamics as a matter of fact. The reason being attraction isn’t just physical in nature (especially in humans). The more strong form of attraction is beyond physical attraction and involves the most complicated product of evolution ever: The Human Brain.
This may sound like physical attraction is independent of the human brain. But even that originates from the brain itself and its processing of the physical inputs. But here I will discuss the two forms of attraction separately and will try to summarize the rules (laws) of attraction in the end.
The physical attraction
By physical attraction, I mean purely related to how the person looks and feels. To put this in a simple way, the attraction you feel when you see a stranger.
In the first paragraph, I mentioned that attraction plays a role in the choice of better partners for reproduction. It’s a way to find a good partner that could help you in carrying your genes to the next generation in a better way. This brings us to a question, “How can physical attraction related to the better choice of reproductive partners?” Sure, a child from a physically appealing partner is more likely to be physically attractive and that would lead to again a better chance for the child of getting a better partner. But this isn’t the complete answer. Imagine for a minute that you’re an alien (some form of lifeform that doesn’t undergo evolutionary natural selection). For you, Aishwarya Rai is no more physically attractive than Rakhi Sawant, or no less physically attractive than her. The great physical features of Aishwarya that make her universally physically attractive is irrelevant for you. So the key here is physical features that make Aishwarya attractive. These features are hard-wired in our brains as physically attractive traits during the course of evolution. These features are indeed related to genetic fitness of the person. The more attractive you find a person, the fitter he/she is to carry your genes for next generation. Some of these physical features are
- Body figure: A girl with better body figure or say attractive curves has less probability of miss-carriage. Males with a better figure, on the other hand, are more capable of performing greater physical tasks required for gathering food for the family and protecting the family. Earlier we were food gathers, although today you can order them easily on food panda. But our brain is evolved to find fitter guys attractive. Now this is some genuine reason for workout guys.
- Facial symmetry: In the ideal case, the face should be perfectly symmetrical. Because that’s what genes of a newly born baby are encoded for, information for the development of a symmetrical face. However, with time there are environmental pressures. These pressures are unsymmetrical and have different impacts on each side of the face. As a result, the face may develop some unsymmetrical features with time. However, the more symmetrical face remains with time means the genes of that person are more capable of handling environmental pressures or in other words, are more genetically fit of dealing with environmental conditions.
- Facial averageness: The hypothesis is, our beauty detecting mechanism averages observed faces. We prefer faces closer to these average faces.You can understand this by imagining that our brain is used to seeing human faces, so the closer a face to the average image in your brain, the more you would prefer that face.
- Voice: It has been well studied that human voice sounds sexier when the sex hormones are more dominant in male/female body. The inherent sexual desire is reflected by your voice!
You might have got the idea by now. The main theme of physical attractiveness is its relation to some sort of sexual or reproductive advantages. These advantages are reflected in the body in form of attractive features, we are attracted to those features as we all ultimately want to pass on our genes to next generation in the best possible manner.
The laws of attraction for most mammals/animals are quite similar to what I described above except for they have their own set of attractive physical features. And that’s about it for animals. But the story doesn’t stop here for humans because as I said before, humans have the most complex product of evolution ever: The Human Brain.
The OTHER attraction
We all know who this person is. He had (might still have) arguably the craziest, vast and diverse set of fan following in the world. Women were crazy about this person. Of all the brainiacs I could have picked, you must be wondering why did I pick MJ to highlight the “Other” attraction. There is Einstein with whom Marilyn Monroe wanted to have babies with. There are many great scientists, engineers, doctors who supposedly have superior IQs. I picked MJ because we make a huge mistake in associating intelligence with just academic achievements in the day to day life. “He is a singer, must be poor in studies.” Singing, dancing, painting, humor, writing, reading, listening, even sports to an extent are feats of the intelligence of human brain. The reason why many attractive people seem to “compromise” (according to the general public) in terms of their partner is because they have found someone with whom they clicked. What does this mean and how does this offer an evolutionary advantage?
Before I explain this, I would like to recall a study I read somewhere (probably some journal). In that study, a monogamous bird species were subjected for breeding. There were different pairs of birds. A pair where both are in love, a pair where both birds are strangers, another pair where birds are in love but not with each other. By love, I mean those birds have chosen their partners before and in that species, once they choose their partner, they don’t change their partner. The result of that experiment was somewhat surprising. The birds who were in love produced the healthiest and highest number of chickens with low infant mortality rate. While the other birds who were forced to produce chickens even when they aren’t in love with each other produced significantly less healthy and less a number of chickens. Love is directly proportional to the health of next generation. That was the conclusion of that study!
Obviously, we can’t directly extrapolate the result of that study to humans. But to a certain degree, it makes sense. If you find a person with whom you have clicked and vice-versa, you would be obviously happy together. Being happy is one of the important factors of being healthy. And being healthy is what lead to a better next generation. Not only that, you and your partner would be more capable of the good upbringing of your child together. That’s an important point as it turned out in the bird study that non-loving pair weren’t too great in taking care of their children compared to loving pairs.
So, the other attraction is nothing but the compatibility of your brain with the brain of your partner depending on the degrees of intelligence of the pair and their personal preferences.
- The genetic fitness, sexual and reproductive abilities of a person are reflected in the physical attractive features of a person. The physical attraction is the direct measurement of the same.
- The brain output (humor, IQ, music, etc.) generates attraction as intelligence is a direct measurement of the ability of the person to take care and nurture its next generation.
- The above 2 points act together simultaneously to help out finding the right person for you.
And if that right person thinks the same about you, marry him/her. This isn’t part of law, just an advice. These aren’t actually laws by Wikipedia’s definition but still to a certain degree have been proven by experiments and psychologists to be true. So the next time you see a stranger (average or less physically attractive) but intriguing enough to generate curiosity, approach him/her as you would do to a physically attractive person. As they always say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Don’t judge a person by his looks. Yet we do it again and again because there is always a tradeoff between physical attraction and intelligence and in the beginning physical attraction always dominates.