What kind of love is love at first sight? An empirical investigation

ArticleinPersonal Relationships · November 2017with 4,160 Reads 
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Abstract
Love at first sight (LAFS) is a commonly known phenomenon, but has barely been investigated scientifically. Major psychological theories of love predict that LAFS is marked by high passion. However, it could also be a memory confabulation construed by couples to enhance their relationship. We investigated LAFS empirically by assessing feelings of love at the moment participants met potential partners for the first time. Data were collected from an online study, a laboratory study, and three dating events. Experiences of LAFS were marked neither by high passion, nor by intimacy, nor by commitment. Physical attraction was highly predictive of reporting LAFS. We therefore suggest that LAFS is not a distinct form of love, but rather a strong initial attraction that some label as LAFS, either in the moment of first sight or retrospectively.

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    We studied initial and long-term outcomes of speed-dating over a period of 1 year in a community sample involving 382 participants aged 18–54 years. They were followed from their initial choices of dating partners up to later mating (sexual intercourse) and relating (romantic relationship). Using Social Relations Model analyses, we examined evolutionarily informed hypotheses on both individual and dyadic effects of participants' physical characteristics, personality, education and income on their dating, mating and relating. Both men and women based their choices mainly on the dating partners' physical attractiveness, and women additionally on men's sociosexuality, openness to experience, shyness, education and income. Choosiness increased with age in men, decreased with age in women and was positively related to popularity among the other sex, but mainly for men. Partner similarity had only weak effects on dating success. The chance for mating with a speed-dating partner was 6%, and was increased by men's short-term mating interest; the chance for relating was 4%, and was increased by women's long-term mating interest. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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    The current study examined whether desired personality influences face preference. Pairs of composite faces were made based on the faces that individuals differing in desired partner personality found most attractive. One composite represented a face most attractive to those desiring a particular trait and the other a face most attractive to those not desiring the same trait. Pairs were presented to different participants to ascertain whether the composites reflected the desired personality of the original raters. For several traits the composites did differ in perceived personality indicating that the personality desired in a partner is reflected in face preference: if a trait is desired then faces perceived to possess that trait are found more attractive than faces which do not possess that trait. These findings cast new light on the “what is beautiful is good” stereotype. What an individual desires in partner reflects what they consider “good”, and they find faces reflecting these desired traits as attractive – “what is good is beautiful”. Possessing personality traits that are attractive may be causal in making a face attractive.
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    To investigate the choices that people make in dating partners, we analyzed data provided by HurryDate, a commercial dating service aimed at adult singles living in major metropolitan areas. Here, we report data from 10,526 participants in HurryDate sessions, in which roughly 25 men and 25 women interacted with each other for three minutes and subsequently indicated which of the people they met they would be interested in having contact with in the future. We had general survey information collected by HurryDate for all the participants and additional survey information for 2,650 participants. Our main findings are that (1) HurryDate interactions are driven primarily by generally agreed-upon mate values and less by niche-based or assortative patterns, (2) the agreed-upon mate values for both men and women derive almost exclusively from physically observable attributes like attractiveness, BMI, height, and age and are not substantially related to harder-to-observe attributes such as education, religion, sociosexuality, having children, or desiring future children, and (3) small positive assortative trends arise in the areas of race and height. Our results provide rare behavioral evidence regarding people's preferences in dating partners. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)
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    This research examined the relative sexual attractiveness of individuals showing emotion expressions of happiness, pride, and shame compared with a neutral control. Across two studies using different images and samples ranging broadly in age (total N = 1041), a large gender difference emerged in the sexual attractiveness of happy displays: happiness was the most attractive female emotion expression, and one of the least attractive in males. In contrast, pride showed the reverse pattern; it was the most attractive male expression, and one of the least attractive in women. Shame displays were relatively attractive in both genders, and, among younger adult women viewers, male shame was more attractive than male happiness, and not substantially less than male pride. Effects were largely consistent with evolutionary and socio-cultural-norm accounts. Overall, this research provides the first evidence that distinct emotion expressions have divergent effects on sexual attractiveness, which vary by gender but largely hold across age.
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    The current study begins the exploration of relationship-defining memories (i.e., the first time someone met their spouse) across adulthood. Men and women ranging from 20 to 85 years old (N=267; M age=47.19) completed a measure of marital satisfaction, wrote a relationship-defining memory, and answered questions about the quality of their memory (i.e., vividness, valence, emotional intensity, and rehearsal). Data were collected online. Results indicate that individuals over 70 and those younger than 30 rehearsed relationship-defining memories most often. Women in midlife also reported more vivid memories. The quality of relationship-defining memories also predicted marital satisfaction. Relationship-defining memories that were more vivid, positive, emotionally intense, and rehearsed related to higher marital satisfaction. Age and gender differences were minimal. Results are discussed in the context of the adaptive social function of autobiographical memories, such that these memories might have a role in influencing marital satisfaction across adulthood.