Laws of Attraction

1 minute read

A study published recently in the journal Current Biology found that 50% of people’s preferences for faces is unique to them–even among identical twins. So what drives attraction if not genetics or familial upbringing? Here are the latest research-backed insights:


When women sniff men’s shirts, they are more attracted to the odors of men whose MHC molecules (which fight disease) differed from theirs, according to several studies. This makes sense, since it enables the creation of more diverse, protective genes.


A 2014 study found women rate men with deep voices as more attractive. For men, the preference was breathiness, whereas earlier research found that higher voices were favored. Clearly, the role of voice in attractiveness is more variable than previously thought.


Beyond symmetrical features, people tend to like faces similar to ones they’ve seen before (in colleagues, for example), as well as those they associate with positive information (like a good friend’s physical characteristics).

–Alexandra Sifferlin

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