You’ve probably heard of the Law of Attraction. This unscientific law says that your thoughts attract what comes into your life. If you think positively about what you want, that’s what the Universe will send you. Likewise, negative thoughts attract negative events and occurrences.
Does this same type of law hold true for human attraction as well? There are two schools of thought on this. Looking at it from a scientific standpoint, it does seem entirely possible that there could be biological “laws” governing how people are attracted to each other. There are chemicals called pheromones that are well documented in the animal kingdom, especially in insects. These chemicals trigger some kind of response in other members of the same species. There are pheromones to signal alarm or danger, and other pheromones that insects use to alert members to a good food source, a new hive, or which trail to follow. Sex pheromones are particularly well studied.
While there haven’t been any specific pheromones found in humans, there is much anecdotal evidence to support the “chemical attraction” theory. Women have been shown to adjust their menstrual cycles when exposed to extracts of male underarms. Other studies have suggested that people may subconsciously be using odor cues to choose mates who aren’t closely related.
What about personality and physical attraction – don’t those play a role in human relationships? For the most part, when someone is attracted to a member of the opposite sex the first attractor is physical appearance. But, unless the pair wants only a purely physical relationship, there must be more than physical attraction to sustain a relationship.
In order to keep a relationship fresh and strong, personality becomes the main focus in human attraction. Getting to know the person over a period of time, discovering their goals and dreams, and seeing how they handle different aspects of everyday life are all important in deciding whether a specific person is attractive enough to stay in a long-term relationship with.
After physical attraction, perception of a person’s personality is what initially attracts a potential mate. Perception is particularly important, as it is possible for someone to hide their true personality for a time, or at least to hide certain aspects of it. This is what often leads to the failure of a relationship, since once the person’s true personality is revealed, the other partner may feel betrayed or let down if it’s not what was initially projected. It’s important that we not be “blinded” by the thrill of a new relationship and overlook small clues that may indicate our potential partner isn’t really what we thought.
Overall, we as a species are overwhelmingly attracted to people who consistently share our values. The old adage that “opposites attract” is true to a degree, but generally, we’re attracted to people who show personality attributes that we deem important, whether or not we possess those attributes ourselves.
The Laws of Human Attraction are complex and varied, as are humans themselves. Chemical, biological, physical, and emotional factors all play a role in this age-old question.
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