Do you want more romantic attraction? Less romantic attraction?
Want to know what it is, why it happens,or how to cue it in someone? You know you make your first evaluation of someone's romantic attractiveness in the first second you look at them.
Whatever romantic attraction is, we have all experienced it, and we have been changed because of it. Who doesn't appreciate seeing a look in someone's eyes that says "You look good to me".
But how do we know what has happened and why it has happened?
Love makes the world go around.
In my work with domestic violence counseling clients, and their mates, and children, I frequently explore the sequence of perceptions and thoughts surrounding the event that brought them to my program, to illustrate how quickly we change internally (it can be 4.5 x as fast as I can blink my eyes)and how those changes in thoughts and feelings can change the course of their lives.
I think it is very important to approach romantic attraction with the same focus.
I want to know what happens in my brain and the rest of my body, so I can recognize it and make choices.
Romantic attraction has a real evolutionary purpose, and it is different in the male brain and the female brain.
I have looked for research describing how romantic attraction is cued. It appears that we humans synchronize our movements, enter into a dance if you will, which is often cued by the female of the species, but I have not found anyone other than the popular body language authors trying to describe the actual movements. Scientists are saying that they cannot yet describe the movements.
Helen Fisher,Ph.D. has done some wonderful work in terms of describing romantic love, and she says that we humans can size one another up in terms of attractiveness in one second.
We have some internal templates that we compare the individual that we are looking at to, and if they pass visual muster in that first second, then we move on to things like voice timber and vocabulary,ect. unless your brain is a male brain which is hardwired to pay attention to physical attraction, and to begin the mating dance at the perception of physical attraction.
Romantic Attraction in the Brain
Professor Fisher says that romantic love is the function of three parts of the reward system in our brain getting turned on.
"But the most powerful aphrodisiacs are already inside our bodies. Humans have evolved three different brain systems to encourage mating: sex drive (lust), feelings of attachment (trust), and romance (being in love). Each of these systems plays a role in desire, and scientists are now beginning to pinpoint the bodily chemicals that trigger each."
Desire is pretty sudden in terms of crossing the threshold into consciousness in the human brain.
So I create romantic attraction in my brain, then signal it to another human, and if there is mutuality, we may find ourselves involved in a romantic love affair, which can last up to three years.
Then perhaps we make decisions about sustaining a mature love.
What Does Speed Dating Reveal About Romantic Attraction
The phenomenon of speed dating has helped researchers look carefully at the dyadic behaviors of folks who are meeting to find prospective dates and perhaps mates.
My very cursory reading to the literature about speed dating indicates that there are signals sent by the participants, in other words romantic attraction is a function of the two people involved.
The speed dating process involves something very similar to what Professor Fisher's personality profile does at Chemistry.com.
Professor Fisher believes that humans fall into four basic personality types, and that we can have romantic attraction with any of them, but the best chance for a permanent love is with a compatible personality type.
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