We all know that love isn't always simple. But what we don't know is that many scientific ideas are playing in to attraction, many of which we are unaware of. "We are in love with the idea of a romantic love, and that ideal leads us astray and into a lot of problems," says Andrew Trees, Ph.D., author of Decoding Love. Learning a little about the science of attraction just may help you play the dating game.
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Even if a woman's self-conscious about her body, wearing a spicy floral fragrance can make her seem to be 12 pounds thinner to men, according to a study by the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation. "The smell profile of the spicy floral fragrance influenced how heavy [men] thought the women were," says Trees.
A study by evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller revealed that the amount of tips lap dancers receive is directly tied to their fertility cycle. Compared to a menstruating lap dancer, who made on average $35 an hour, women who were ovulating made $70 per hour. Researchers speculate that men may respond to subtle changes in body odor, lip color, pupil dilation and skin tone that can occur due to hormone changes during ovulation. What does this means for non-lap dancers? If you want to meet a man: "Men are programmed to seek out women who are more fertile," says Trees. "Always make sure to schedule dates around ovulation if you can."
The smell test
"Smell is a way to determine genetic compatibility," says Trees. Because modern society emphasizes good hygiene, bodily smells that were once used to detect genetic compatibility are masked. What's worse, "birth control appears to reverse a woman's usual smell preferences," says Trees. "When a woman is on the Pill, she tends to choose men who smell similar to her father or brother." Women who take birth control may be more apt to choose someone with a similar genetic profile, even though a man with a different genetic profile would be better for her offspring, he says.
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