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Experimental Intro Essay

1089 words - 4 pages

There is a sentiment throughout human history, chronicled in books and sung in songs, suggesting that when a human sees someone they find attractive, their perception of the way time progresses around them slows down. According to literature as old as Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet and pop culture references as recent as Taylor Swift’s lyrics “time slows down whenever you’re around” in the popular 2010 song “Today Was a Fairy Tale”, the perception of time changes when seeing an attractive potential mate. Currently there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, despite the prevalence of artists addressing these feelings in their works for centuries.
To investigate the idea, we must first ask the question, what makes a person attractive? To define attractiveness as a feeling, though an abstract thought, we can assign meaning to the idea using the same method that we as humans can recall what it feels like to drive a car without actually being in the car, through memories and experiences of arousal (Meier & Dionne, 2009). Past experiences, our surroundings, and the media can impact the ideas of how we judge attractiveness. Furthermore, although the actual feelings of attraction cannot be completely defined and are abstract, the traits and characteristic which one finds attractive can be measured (Meier & Dionne, 2009). It has been shown through studies and surveys that the most attractive males are those with resources and social status. According to research done by Buss (1989) involving 10,000 participants from 37 cultures, women typically reported desiring men who have social status, access to resources, and who are about 3.5 years older. A study done by Meier and Dionne (2009) which addressed what is perceived to be physical attractiveness also indicated that status is extremely important. In this study, they had participants rate the attractiveness of photographs as they were presented on a computer screen. The position of the photographs varied from each trial, all photographs were rated twice, once with the photograph at the top of the screen and once with it at the bottom. The results showed that women were more likely to find photographs of males that appeared at the top of the screen more attractive than the bottom of the screen, due to the “higher status” of the photograph.
Similarly, the ideas of status carry over to what makes women attractive to partners, albeit in a reverse fashion. Shown in the Meier and Dionne (2009) study, the most attractive females are found to be those who look youthful and fertile. Males viewed the photographs of females at the bottom of the screens more attractive than photographs of females at the bottom of the screen. This is due to the fact that “youth is typically seen as a lower status,” (Kenrick & Keefe, 1992). It can be said then that males want partners based on the traits that point to better fertility, where as females want partners who can support them due to high status. For both sexes,...

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