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Scientists set out to explore the science of love — or lust — at first sight by tracking the eye movements of college coeds presented with computer images of potential mates. The test subjects were asked to note whether the photo inspired romantic feelings or primarily sexual desire — and interestingly, the students were able to distinguish confidently and rapidly between the two.
The researchers then compared the gaze patterns displayed when photos stirred the heart or the loins. When tender feelings predominated, the gaze fixated on the face … but when physical desire took hold, eyes left the face to ogle the physical goods. The dichotomy was as true for women as for men.
So, how to apply these scientific findings to your own romantic life? Here are a few takeaways:
Watch the way he looks at you. Don’t be insulted if a guy stares at your body — but don’t feel flattered either. Yes, he’s physically attracted, but remember that in the study, men (and women) who felt romantically inclined tended to keep their eyes on a potential partner’s face, not their toned arms or great legs. Researchers also noted these gaze shifts could occur in fractions of a second, so be mindful of what his eyes say the moment you meet.
Avoid “shady” characters. What’s with the guys whose online dating profiles primarily feature photos of them wearing sunglasses? What do they have to hide? Little piggy eyes? Pothead eyes? Insecurity? An inability to hold eye contact? And what about when you meet a man in person and he doesn’t take his sunglasses off? Not a good sign.
What’s with the guys whose online dating profiles primarily feature photos of them wearing sunglasses? What do they have to hide? And what about when you meet a man in person and he doesn’t take his sunglasses off?
The man who likes you will want as few barriers between you, including those Ray Bans. It’s sunny out? If he likes you, he’ll suggest moving somewhere where he can see you sans glare. Even if he’s hiding nothing more than dumbness about how dumb he looks in those glasses, do you really want to invest the time in Mr. Simpleminded?
Watch where your own gaze goes. Men aren’t the only ones who can be led astray by libido. Hubba hubba does not equal husband. Men are better about having flings without thinking rings. Next time you find myself fixating on a guy’s bulging biceps and strong shoulders, don’t mistake what you’re feeling for true romantic interest.