The science of attraction – Dawn Maslar


We like to think of romantic feelings as spontaneous and indescribable
things that come from the heart. But it’s actually your brain running a complex series of calculations
within a matter of seconds that’s responsible
for determining attraction. Doesn’t sound quite as poetic, does it? But just because the calculations
are happening in your brain doesn’t mean those warm,
fuzzy feelings are all in your head. In fact, all five
of your senses play a role, each able to vote for,
or veto, a budding attraction. The eyes are the first
components in attraction. Many visual beauty standards vary
between cultures and eras, and signs of youth,
fertility and good health, such as long lustrous hair, or smooth, scar-free skin, are almost always in demand because they’re associated
with reproductive fitness. And when the eyes spot
something they like, our instinct is to move closer so the other senses can investigate. The nose’s contribution to romance is more than noticing perfume or cologne. It’s able to pick up
on natural chemical signals known as pheromones. These not only convey important physical or genetic information
about their source but are able to activate a physiological
or behavioral response in the recipient. In one study, a group of women at different points
in their ovulation cycles wore the same T-shirts for three nights. After male volunteers
were randomly assigned to smell either one of the worn shirts,
or a new unworn one, saliva samples showed
an increase in testosterone in those who had smelled a shirt worn
by an ovulating woman. Such a testosterone boost may give a man the nudge to pursue a woman he might not have otherwise noticed. A woman’s nose is particularly attuned to MHC molecules,
which are used to fight disease. In this case, opposites attract. When a study asked women to smell T-shirts
that had been worn by different men, they preferred the odors of those
whose MHC molecules differed from theirs. This makes sense. Genes that result in a greater
variety of immunities may give offspring
a major survival advantage. Our ears also determine attraction. Men prefer females
with high-pitched, breathy voices, and wide formant spacing,
correlated with smaller body size. While women prefer low-pitched voices
with a narrow formant spacing that suggest a larger body size. And not surprisingly, touch turns out to be crucial for romance. In this experiment,
not realizing the study had begun, participants were asked
to briefly hold the coffee, either hot or iced. Later, the participants read a story
about a hypothetical person, and were asked to rate their personality. Those who had held the hot cup of coffee perceived the person
in the story as happier, more social, more generous
and better-natured than those who had held
the cup of iced coffee, who rated the person as cold,
stoic, and unaffectionate. If a potential mate has managed
to pass all these tests, there’s still one more: the infamous first kiss, a rich and complex exchange
of tactile and chemical cues, such as the smell of one’s breath, and the taste of their mouth. This magical moment is so critical
that a majority of men and women have reported losing
their attraction to someone after a bad first kiss. Once attraction is confirmed,
your bloodstream is flooded with norepinephrine, activating your fight or flight system. Your heart beats faster, your pupils dilate, and your body releases glucose
for additional energy, not because you’re in danger
but because your body is telling you that something important is happening. To help you focus, norepinephrine creates
a sort of tunnel vision, blocking out surrounding distractions, possibly even warping your sense of time, and enhancing your memory. This might explain why people
never forget their first kiss. The idea of so much of our attraction being influenced by chemicals
and evolutionary biology may seem cold and scientific
rather than romantic, but the next time
you see someone you like, try to appreciate how your entire body
is playing matchmaker to decide if that beautiful
stranger is right for you.

100 Comments

  1. Dr Nitesh

    February 14, 2019 at 7:46 pm

    You are the best

  2. Cyberxxx cyberxxx

    February 22, 2019 at 3:28 am

    Damn hhaahhahaga

  3. KARMANATOR JANGPANGI

    February 22, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    I explained this to my girlfriend, she now thinks that I'm an emotionless, hearless and feelingless human being. Thank you science.

  4. Syed K

    February 23, 2019 at 11:16 am

    Don't go by these studies bcoz attraction is natural and can happen anytime anywhere

  5. SIXTH

    February 26, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    I know you came here to find out how much to get that special someone πŸ˜‰

  6. Gaming Sisters Stone

    March 8, 2019 at 10:03 pm

    I must be different i never ever liked someone by there looks only by there personality its what on the inside that counts… or thats just me…

  7. Siri the Kool kid

    March 12, 2019 at 5:14 am

    when u ask a nerd what it means to be in love…

  8. Bbllynnn

    March 15, 2019 at 4:03 am

    When ur 5’8

  9. Laidan 22

    March 15, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    I know I won’t have any girls who like me before I leave high school, I guess I’m ment to be lonelyπŸ™. I guess this new sociaty is not my type or something or maybe I’m just unlikeable I’ll never know I guess

  10. astralips

    March 21, 2019 at 2:44 am

    Whenever I watch Ted Talks my IQ raises up 100%

  11. astralips

    March 21, 2019 at 2:51 am

    Okay my hands are always super cold. I'm a bad person πŸ™

  12. nesha janisha

    March 21, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    cool

  13. eliza bongiovi

    March 24, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    also explain how a guy has a crush on me and secretly stares at me but avoids me and eye rolls everytime he sees me

  14. Abdullah Mok

    March 25, 2019 at 7:23 am

    16 and still no first kiss☹️

  15. Manuel Calderon

    March 27, 2019 at 2:51 am

    I met my soulmate and I cheated. I never cheated before. I definitely don't wanna do it again but now I lost her. And won't ever get her back she wants nothing to do with me. Idk what to do

  16. Mohamed Ahmed

    April 1, 2019 at 5:22 am

    no one loves me

  17. Qwertyvegy 5830 5830

    April 3, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    Well, and the gays?

  18. Karbon YT

    April 4, 2019 at 7:18 am

    Just be colourful and different from the other girl/boy ?

    2040

  19. MsAngelaSunshine

    April 7, 2019 at 10:16 pm

    Dancing on point πŸ˜„

  20. Joshua pl

    April 8, 2019 at 8:21 am

    Some of those animated people were the creepiest cartoons I've ever seen

  21. Sherlock Holmes

    April 10, 2019 at 7:23 am

    Nerds: sees their CRUSH staring at them

    inside head

    Oh no no no! He's here! Aaahhhhhh! Am I ovulating? Did I lose my acne scars this morning!? Have I applied moisturizer? Do I have higher pitched voice, petite figure? Is the coffee in his hand warm?!

  22. XxxSUPERBEASTxxX

    April 13, 2019 at 5:01 am

    I felt like this when i first stared punching kids when i was 6.. explains why i love fighting muay thai and jui jitsu πŸ˜‰

  23. carbonated edgy soda

    April 15, 2019 at 6:48 am

    so that explains why I keep watching videos of john lennon

  24. fatima diallo

    April 16, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    I don’t remember my first kiss lol

  25. Aditi Sharma

    April 20, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    Jawline pretty much

  26. grapefruit

    April 24, 2019 at 1:11 am

    People: Love comes from the heart.

    Brain: Am i a joke to you?

  27. 720 EASY CRAMMING

    April 26, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    I tends to ignore girls and stay away from them and I move away my eyes from them even. So chemically it will be beneficial for me or not

  28. Thakur Lucky

    April 29, 2019 at 2:15 am

    After first kiss body is like: evacuate the city engage all defences and give this man a shield

  29. Wesley McJunkin

    May 4, 2019 at 3:29 am

    I'm convinced that attraction can be supernaturaly hindered. 5-3-2019

  30. riley

    May 14, 2019 at 2:01 am

    We love heteronormativity πŸ™„

  31. Sir Temmett

    May 19, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    So…. If my blood sugar is high after my first kiss, I guess It's a keeper?

  32. Jragon Jewel

    May 20, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    3:37
    Me spotting my crush out of the corner of my eye

  33. Ali Qazilbash

    May 25, 2019 at 3:44 am

    Got a vividly shameless imagination and limitless vocabulary. The five senses are secondary

  34. A

    May 25, 2019 at 5:51 pm

    Love is a biological delusion that lures beings into reproduction. It has never meant to last.

  35. Wesley Yu

    May 28, 2019 at 10:55 am

    0:55 That's where you are wrong, kiddo.

  36. Elodie Caudron

    May 31, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    Do i even have pheromones

  37. wheezy boi

    June 1, 2019 at 10:27 am

    My senses must be frickin trippin then lol

  38. lullitaA 0310

    June 4, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Your heart beats faster, your pupils dilate, and your body release glucose for additional energy

  39. HappyConstructor

    June 5, 2019 at 2:50 am

    Wait so love has a connection to fight/flight, similar to adrenaline?
    (Has first kiss)
    (Screams and runs)
    Yeah, makes sense.

  40. BronzeJourney

    June 9, 2019 at 10:26 am

    3:33 Uhh, im sure we can call this as another F&F at that state πŸ˜‰

  41. Ilan Smolders

    June 11, 2019 at 11:23 am

    this is so damn heteronormative

  42. Izzy Lamb

    June 11, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    how to make me MORE worried about a first kiss with a crush!!

  43. Shashi Chandra

    June 17, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    M O N E Y

  44. Ω…Ω„Ψ§Ωƒ

    June 20, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    I don’t think there’s is clear evidence of pheromones affect on human

  45. Optulent

    June 24, 2019 at 7:10 am

    This is so weird how did I end up here.

  46. Fucking grass

    June 25, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Gg, I have a terrible skin because I’ve got allergies, I’m tall for a girl and my voice is quite deep for a female… Kms, lmao.

  47. J A

    July 6, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    This can be true of medicine as well. Certain patients respond better to certain treatments and pain….Oh my goodnesa… you could do 30 minutes on pain response alone.

  48. m r

    July 7, 2019 at 10:56 pm

    Wow..eye opener.. now I can stop worrying about why I obsess about certain people..it has nothing to do with me..it's my hormones

  49. Yash Lokhande

    July 8, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Just love it…πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

  50. Christian G

    July 9, 2019 at 8:29 am

    bargh's warm drink-holding study was sort of out of place here

  51. Vivian

    July 10, 2019 at 7:41 am

    3:30 I was just wonderng doesn't epinephrine/ adrenaline produce the following qualities? Nonepinephrine turns off those qualities if I'm not wrong.

  52. Jessie Xia

    July 12, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    Honesty the fight or flight instinct is there because it knows you ARE in danger

  53. Lauren Autumn

    July 14, 2019 at 4:49 am

    Lol my crush has a high pitched voice and you could say my voice isn't as high pitched

  54. Are you alseep?

    July 17, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    Asexuals be like

    huh?

  55. sweiland75

    July 18, 2019 at 5:07 am

    Pheromones are a myth.

  56. Akihiko Hayashi

    July 19, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    Am I really supposed to wear the same shirt for 3 days straight?!

  57. Akihiko Hayashi

    July 19, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    about to propose
    WAIT
    gives hot cup of coffee
    There! No way to fail now!

  58. Meaghan Lu

    July 19, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    2:16
    So. . . you're telling me men prefer women with voices like Dolores Umbridge's

  59. our favourite singer

    July 22, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    This isn't an inclusive video . What about LGBTQ+ community πŸ™„

  60. Flarbargason

    July 25, 2019 at 6:34 am

    Hey baby, you got some nice pheromones.

  61. moriweem

    July 27, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    When the teacher says to pick a partner and you and your best friend be like: 1:15

  62. shuumo

    July 28, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Someone buy me a new joycon

  63. Jerrziy Jaque

    July 29, 2019 at 2:56 am

    Those smiles creep me out

  64. Manatax8537 Implosion

    July 30, 2019 at 3:41 am

    There's a say Everytime a guy says once in a lifespan when he sees those seductive women that
    Guys surround especially at highschool

    It's not your heart it's your mind

  65. uwu_drawz

    July 31, 2019 at 10:08 am

    h.hh…how you explain gae?

  66. Chaapaa Chaapaa

    July 31, 2019 at 11:46 am

    All i can say is who ever was narrating this got one of the most comforting voice I've ever heard.

  67. markhyuck are in love

    July 31, 2019 at 10:14 pm

    this is so binary though. include the lgbt+ community.

  68. Menahil Imtenan

    August 1, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    I thought this video was gonna explain about my attraction towards donuts 24/7 πŸ˜‚
    My true love
    Fun Fact: A guy married a pizza slice…not that I’m gonna

  69. KUSHAGRA BANSAL

    August 2, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    so I can go kissing random people to know if I like them or not

  70. Natrium guy

    August 3, 2019 at 1:04 am

    After watching this video, me to my crush: I love you from the bottom of my brain.😁😁
    Crush: Slaps me

  71. Narancia Ghirga

    August 4, 2019 at 7:01 am

    2:23 welp, I’m screwed

  72. Nicoke Auld

    August 4, 2019 at 8:42 am

    Oof I’m taller than all the boys at school and I have a pretty deep voice well I’m screwed

  73. Zach Zachary

    August 7, 2019 at 10:14 am

    What if im gei?

  74. Fariha Mohamed Hilmy

    August 7, 2019 at 11:27 am

    Is this the reason why I tend to fall for this one guy who I don't find physically attractive in the first place? πŸ˜•

  75. Catherine Farrington

    August 10, 2019 at 3:02 am

    This animation is outstanding

  76. Cherry Blossom

    August 11, 2019 at 9:42 am

    The animation is hilarious lol

  77. Noah H

    August 14, 2019 at 8:06 am

    Where are the citations? Where could I read the pheromone and major histocompatibility complex studies? Or the ones on norepinephrine release when one kisses? Thx

  78. lumos minima

    August 14, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    That "Pupils dilate" part animation scared tf out of me lol

  79. Glen Dayao

    August 18, 2019 at 6:38 am

    This video reminded me that we humans are also animals. It's like im watching animal planet explaining how animals (human) attract to each other and find their mate

  80. Henzo Henzi

    August 19, 2019 at 4:24 am

    Hmm at least now I KNOW why girls don’t like me

  81. zachary paris

    August 19, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    But what happens after you’ve been together for five years…

  82. Maha Agro

    August 21, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    "Soft scar-free skin and long luxurious hair" guess I am gonna be single forever πŸ˜’

  83. Jason Moyle

    August 23, 2019 at 9:34 am

    Tinder:
    Boss: What do we Edomite in this business
    Worker: match make
    Boss: WELL TED ED JUST EXPLAINED HOW YOUR BODY FINDS IT AND NOT IPHONES
    Boss: WE NEED MORE IDEAS
    Worker: …

  84. ꧁ Shyaira Senpai꧂

    August 23, 2019 at 11:40 am

    They say you will definitely know if you liked a person or not after you kiss them! Now I know why…

  85. Chloe Anne

    August 24, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    Me sitting here with my bad skin, thin hair, deep voiced, 5’11 self wondering why boys don’t like me

  86. Ry B

    August 24, 2019 at 10:37 pm

    If this gets 1000 likes on an old video I’ll ask my crush out😬

  87. jade liz

    August 26, 2019 at 5:45 am

    this is true , was dating this guy and a two weeks into dating we had our first kiss almost threw up broke up wit him right after didn’t feel love anymore

  88. koowoo

    August 28, 2019 at 4:55 am

    Kiss is critical

  89. Krishna Kumar

    August 29, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    And than tinder comes

  90. cautare pvp

    August 30, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    sooo its all about a good french kiss.
    Ok got it.

  91. nadeen ashraf

    August 31, 2019 at 3:18 am

    first 4 mins of the video: love isn't real you're just an animal who wants to mate with a good biological match and produce the healthiest possibly offspring
    the last 10 seconds of the video: πŸŽ€ π“Žπ‘œπ“Šπ“‡ π’·π‘œπ’Ήπ“Ž π’Ύπ“ˆ 𝒢 π’·π‘’π’Άπ“Šπ“‰π’Ύπ’»π“Šπ“ 𝓂𝒢𝓉𝒸𝒽𝓂𝒢𝓀𝑒𝓇 𝒽𝑒𝓁𝓅𝒾𝓃𝑔 π“Žπ‘œπ“Š 𝒹𝑒𝒸𝒾𝒹𝑒 𝒾𝒻 π“‰π’½π’Ύπ“ˆ π’·π‘’π’Άπ“Šπ“‰π’Ύπ’»π“Šπ“ π“…π‘’π“‡π“ˆπ‘œπ“ƒ π’Ύπ“ˆ π“Žπ‘œπ“Šπ“‡ π“ˆπ‘œπ“Šπ“π“‚π’Άπ“‰π‘’ πŸŽ€

  92. Maddie Fishblob

    September 1, 2019 at 4:12 am

    My friend in middle school had a crush on our 30 year old teacher….how would you explain that?! πŸ˜‚ (Don’t answer that questionπŸ˜…)

  93. Potato Joe

    September 1, 2019 at 4:58 am

    LGBTQ+ has left the chat

  94. β€’ I am a Funny YouTuber lol

    September 3, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    Attraction is overrted af I am out of hereπŸ˜‚

  95. My sweet piggies

    September 4, 2019 at 11:47 pm

    But how can people feel attracted to people they met on the internet?

  96. strange boi

    September 7, 2019 at 12:45 am

    I dont like the eyes constantly staring into my soul

  97. AMD Ask My Dad

    September 7, 2019 at 4:25 am

    Wait so if I like someone meaning I like his pheromones, will he also like my pheromones? Or will it only work for one person?

  98. Kelly Kwok

    September 11, 2019 at 10:55 am

    Damn my voice is like
    D e e p

  99. seven starz

    September 12, 2019 at 11:30 pm

    When my first kiss happened I just froze in fear…and started sweating..
    It wasn't magicalπŸ˜…

  100. Shreya Deshmukh

    September 15, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    Me- love is magical…its not scientific or logical
    Ted ed:-hold my beer
    Love is programmedπŸ˜‘

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