Love

Your Dog Makes You 3x Hotter (And 8 Other Crazy Facts About Attraction)

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woman cuddling dog

The science of attraction will always be a topic that spurs intense curiosity and debate. Can we say, definitively, what makes a person attractive? Or does it vary from person to person?

Science suggests that while some of the attraction can be attributed to personal preference, some of it can also be attributed to a combination of genetic and biological factors

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Here are nine scientific facts about attraction that will change the way you think about it forever:

1. You really do have a 'type.'

A 2015 study found that 50 percent of people's preferences for faces are unique to them, and a person's preferences are strongly influenced by their life experiences. 

Researchers from Wellesley College studied the facial preferences of 547 pairs of identical twins and 214 pairs of fraternal twins. Although the twins shared similar (or the same) genes and identical family backgrounds, they often had very different facial aesthetic preferences. 

2. Women go crazy for men with dogs. 

Bachelors, it may be time to invest in a puppy. Studies show that men were three times more likely to obtain a woman's phone number when accompanied by a dog. 

3. Smell can play a huge role in who we find attractive

In a study from the early 1990s, researchers discovered that women prefer the body odors of men whose MHC compositions differ from their own.

What's an MHC composition? Well, MHC stands for major histocompatibility complex, and it's a large set of molecules that control a major part of the immune system. Studies have shown that males prefer sexual partners with MHC compositions different than their own. 

In the study from 1995, researchers asked a group of female college students to smell t-shirts worn by male students for two nights without deodorant, cologne, or scented soaps. The women overwhelmingly chose shirts worn by men of dissimilar MHCs to their own. 

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4. Finding someone physically attractive contributes to how you think of them overall

When you see someone attractive, you probably automatically assign them a list of positive traits: kindness, intelligence, and success. In a concept called "The Halo Effect," people tend to attribute positive personality traits to people they found physically attractive. 

5. Wearing red makes you appear sexier

Turns out, the color red makes men feel more amorous toward women, research shows.

The authors of a study on color believe that the bias could be attributed to social conditioning, but it also has deeper biological roots. For example, female baboons and chimpanzees redden while ovulating, sending a signal which attracts sexual partners.

This supports the theory that men could be attracted to women wearing red because they appear to be more fertile. In fact, separate studies have shown that women are more likely to wear red or pink at peak fertility. 

6. The majority of women prefer stubbled men

According to a 2013 study conducted at the University of New South Wales, women have a very precise facial hair preference: heavy stubble.

Researchers showed a group of women photos of 10 men. Each man was shown four different ways: clean-shaven, with five days of beard growth (light stubble), 10 days of growth (heavy growth), and with a full beard. 

The researchers believe that women were more attracted to heavily stubbled men because facial hair makes men seem more mature and masculine; however, too much hair makes them seem dominant and aggressive. It's a perfect balance!

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7. Your oral contraceptive may impact who you find attractive

Researchers studied the attraction preferences of a group of women before and after they began taking oral contraceptives. After the women began taking birth control pills, they found themselves attracted to men with less masculine features. 

8. Your eyes may hold the key to your attraction levels

Add this to the list of things you'll worry about forever. Studies have found that the ring of dark color that surrounds your iris — called the limbal ring — could determine whether or not a person finds you immediately attractive. 

Researchers at the University of California at Irvine discovered that men found women with dark limbal rings more attractive than those with unnoticeable limbal rings. 

According to Psychology Today, the limbal rings serve as an "honest signal" of youth; it fades in color as we age. Thus, the darker it appears, the younger we appear.

Limbal rings are much more prominent on lighter eyes, which may also contribute to societal perceptions that green and blue eyes are more attractive. 

9. Body language counts for more than you think

You may be convinced that women who are Perfect 10s receive the most attention at bars. Wrong.

A study performed at the University of Missouri found that "average-looking" women could be approached by up to four men when they utilized 35 body language gestures, including smiles with eyebrows raised, short, darting glances, arm flexes, hair flicks, neck caresses, and more. 

Furthermore, the gorgeous girl who sits there doing nothing is unlikely to be approached by a romantic suitor at all. So, ladies, work that body language

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Cristina Arreola is the Senior Books Editor at Bustle. 

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