Scientific Research Reveals How To Tell If A Guy Or Girl Likes You (And May Have Fallen In Love At First Sight!)

Photo: Unsplash: Justin Chen
Science Reveals How To Tell If A Guy Or Girl Likes You By Reading One Aspect Of Their Body Language

It takes less than 100 milliseconds!

According to new scientific research, understanding the concept of love at first sight and then knowing how to tell if a guy or a girl likes you (and might fall in love with you!) might be as simple as reading one specific aspect of their body language — AKA their eye contact!

A picture can say a thousand words, after all, and the way someone you're dating and/or in love with looks at you reveals significant information about their level of attraction to and feelings for you. At the very least, that's the conclusion reached in an opinion piece titled "Love at First Sight," written by James A. Grant-Jacob and published in the U.S. National Library Of Medicine.


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According to Grant-Jacob's review of nearly 30 research projects spanning the past five decades, "an individual can become attracted to and emotionally attached to another person in an instant at first sight ... such feelings may be requited and thus [love] at first sight between two people can occur if the receiver of such attraction has similar attributes to the individual."

Notably, several of these studies confirm that humans have evolved the "intuitive skills" necessary to be able to determine within 100 milliseconds whether or not someone is a suitable mating partner. 

(I don't know about you, but that makes me feel a whole lot less guilty about how much time I have spent swiping left on Tinder ...)

Here are two key components to how love at first sight works and how to tell if a guy or girl likes you by reading their body language. 

1. The initial attraction.

According to Grant-Jacob, we tend to be commonly attracted to people who look like ourselves. 

"Studies on attraction have shown that people are strongly sexually attracted to lookalikes in physical appearance ," he states, "with researchers having found that subjects rated pictures of faces morphed with their own face as being more attractive."

When we are physically attracted to someone, he continues, we trust them more and become better able to understand their non-verbal cues. These provide us with significant information about who they are. 

"As such," says Grant-Jacob, "  believe it is our ability to perceive another individual's personality that can allow us to be attracted to someone before we have even spoken to them."

The fact that we inherently trust someone and feel as though we understand them then reinforces and increases our physical attraction to them. 


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2. An exchange of mutual interest follows via the "copulatory gaze."

Once we've decided a physical attraction exists, we innately attempt to make and hold direct eye content with that person in order to communicate our feelings of attraction via what is know as the "copulatory gaze. 

Biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher and neuroscientist Dr. Lucy L. Brown define this particular courtship practice as "staring intently at the other person for two to three seconds before breaking away." 

If the person in question finds us attractive as well, they will return our gaze in order to convey their mutual feelings. Their gazing back reinforces our initial belief that we identified a suitable partner.

The longer both people maintain that gaze, the more each is likely to "realize that they are both attracted to each other, and so an immediate unspoken emotional union is potentially formed in which both individuals become emotionally attached to each other, and love at first sight occurs between two people at the same time."

To break it down, if you look at someone and have "want to mate" feelings for them, this in turn is something you process emotionally and communicate to them with your eyes. If the person you want to mate with has the same attraction towards you, they will process the feelings of attraction emotionally as well, and communicate this to you in return. As the gazing continues, the biological imperative to reproduce cloaked as love at first sight takes hold! 

How can you put this information to work in your own love life?

Simply be prepared to flash or return a copulatory gaze when the moment arrives!

Fisher and Brown also say, "Open smiling that shows both the upper and lower teeth, nervous fidgeting, self-grooming, and over-emphasized movements are also common," so watch for these accompanying body language cues.

Keep these details in mind the next time you meet someone and find yourself are wondering if they're vibing you!


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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the love and dating advice show, Becca After Dark on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:15 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.