The Science of Love and Attraction

In an otherwise unexceptional March Atlantic, I did enjoy the cover piece (subscribers only) on the increasing emphasis on science to figure out the chemistry of attraction and falling in love.

A few cute tidbits. Since my index finger is slightly shorter than my ring finger, I am likely a "director" type, which "is associated with being rational, analytical, exacting, independent, logical, rank-oriented,       competitive, irreverent, and narcissistic." Pretty accurate! Director types also rarely imagine extreme situation, like winning the lotery or being stranded on an island. That’s me. Of course, we’re all a little bit of everything, but it’s fascinating that science can predict certain traits.

I’ve always found it odd that people marry someone they meet in graduate school, for example. The pool of candidates is so small; I have to think that marriage happens because both people are at a stage in their life where they want to get married, and thus they lower the bar for that to happen. Online dating/matchmaking services certainly seem like they should offer better fits, but the whole trend should be unsettling to those who still believe in love at first sight.

3 comments on “The Science of Love and Attraction
  • A number of my friends got married to fellow classmates that they met at HBS.

    While this is a smaller pool, their behavior strikes me as eminently logical. Why not marry someone with a lot of basic compatibility that is also likely to have extremely high earning potential?

  • Another person sent me a private email saying grad schools ensure commonalities that are the foundation of a successful relationship. I agree. I wonder what percentage of grad students marry a classmate at or right after school. If there’s a good match, go for it. But I think many people don’t stop and think about how small their pool just got in an urgency to get married when the timing supposedly makes sense.

  • The urgency thing sort of makes sense from the woman’s point of view (biological clock), but are 25-year-old guys really thinking about when the most advantageous time to get married is?

    Personally I’d imagine it’s a lot easier to meet compatible people at school than, say, at a bar or a party. I also think it’s healthy for a couple to have something significant in college, so if it’s a career choice, so be it. But my parents met in architecture school, so maybe I’m biased.

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