Traditional evolutionary biological theory suggests that we are attracted to certain faces and not others because we are programmed to desire a healthy mate who will help us bear healthy offspring. We are therefore drawn to the face of someone we think will make a successful sex partner rather than someone we think who will not. However, this theory has not always been supported in laboratory experiments.
Gender (male or female) and sexual orientation (heterosexual or homosexual) seem to play a role. For example, a heterosexual female brain may show signs of attraction during a laboratory experiment in which she sees an attractive woman. Yet she knows she will never mate with or ever want to mate with the woman.
So why does attraction register?
The “fertile face attraction theory” has been challenged by some scientists, who claims that male or female, gay or straight, we all recognize an attractive face, irrespective of their so-called “reproductive fitness”. We do not need to desire to mate with someone to find them attractive. In other words, mating is something, but it may not be everything!
Over the years, researchers have speculated that we tend to be attracted to the faces of the opposite sex who remind us of our parents. However, others claim that there is just as much evidence supporting the opposite.
Some researchers have even found that we tend to be attracted to those faces that remind us of ourselves. In an experiment, researchers morphed a digitized photo of the subject’s own face into a face of the opposite sex. The subject then had to select from a series of photos which one he or she found most attractive. It turns out that the subjects always preferred the morphed version of their own face—and they never recognized it as their own.
Love at First Stare
It has been found that simply staring into each other’s eyes has a tremendous impact on falling in love. Researchers put subjects together with strangers of the opposite sex in pairs for 90 minutes and asked them to discuss intimate details about themselves. The researchers then had the subjects stare into each other’s eyes for 4 minutes without talking. Many of the subjects felt a deep attraction for their partner after the experiment. A few even ended up getting married within a year!