While I was sitting at my desk thinking of what my blog topic should be about, I got bored and checked my phone. I went on instagram and I saw picture of a very attractive woman. I continued to scroll through my feed when I asked myself, why did I find her so attractive? That gave me the idea to research a little more why attraction is instant and why we find others attractive based only upon looks initially.
As I searched all throughout the internet for a reason, I kept running into the term sexual attraction. Although sexual attraction is not my topic, similar parts of the brain are affected. I finally came across a page that gave me answers that I needed. The convincing aspect that came with this page was that it actually used real people in an experiment to prove their point. This study was observational. They noticed that the sight of someone attractive caused a part of the brain to react in a certain way and also the correlation between seeing an attractive person and the brain reacting.
The study included 78 woman and 73 men, all single and heterosexual. After all the volunteers were found, they were told that they were going to be going on speed dates. Prior to actually going on the dates, 39 people had their brains imaged to see how their brains reacted to seeing pictures of all the people they would encounter at the event. They were allowed to see the pictures briefly and then rate the person based on their physical attraction and whether or not they would date them. Finally, it was time for the dates! The dates were five minutes each and when they were done they would move on to the next person. After all the dates concluded, everyone who participated filled out a form saying who they would want to see again. It was seen that the people that found who they liked by seeing their pictures prior, actually still were attracted to them when they met them in person. At the end of it all, the researchers concluded that people who were compatible ended up exchanging phone numbers and 10-20% of them got in touch with one another. (Pappas, Science Explains Instant Attraction)
The main part of the brain that was affected during this study was the prefrontal cortex. More specifically a part of the medial prefrontal cortex called the paracingulate cortex. Most of the activity found in this part of the brain was when the test subjects saw pictures of people they found to be attractive. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex also had a lot of activity. Although, major activity was found occurring when the test subjects saw an attractive face that multiple other people found to be attractive as well. Yes, everyone has differing opinions in what they like so that is when the rostromedial prefrontal cortex reacts. This part of the brain usually plays a role in social decisions so the possibility is that this part of the brain judges and analyzes more the person you find attractive. It goes deeper than just what can be determined in the first few seconds. (Pappas, Science Explains Instant Attraction)
What I got from this is that attraction at first sight uses more of the brain than I expected. It is a simple concept but it shows how vital the brain is in all aspects of life. Now, that does’t change the fact that these results show how shallow people can be. At least this proves that everyone in the world is shallow to some extent, right?