“Around the world, people love. They sing for love, they dance for love; they compose poems and stories about love. They tell myths and legends about love. They pine for love, they live for love, they kill for love, and they die for love.” Of all the societies that anthropologists have studied they have not found one that didn’t have evidence of romantic love. But what is love anyways? Or better yet… how does love work?
According to John Money, professor emeritus of medical psychology and pediatrics at John Hopkins University, what he calls our “love map” is what causes us to romantically pursue another person in the first place. A “love map” is a group of messages encoded in our brains that describe what we prefer and/or like about a potential mate. The first part of this map is about appearance. Many researches have found that we tend to be attracted to those who remind us of ourselves! In fact, Cognitive psychologist David Perrett, performed an experiment in which he morphed a photo of the subject’s own face into a face of the opposite sex. He then had the subject select from a series of photos which one he or she found most attractive. According to Dr. Perrett, each and every subject was most attracted to his or her own morphed photo! Researchers have also found that we tend to be attracted to those people who remind us of our parents.
The second part of this “love map” is made up of what we like about someone’s personality. Oddly enough, this aspect of attraction is also connected to our parents and we look for personality traits in a partner that remind us of both our parents, but mostly who remind us of our mothers. This is because when we are young our mother is the center of our attention, and we are the center of hers. Therefore our mother’s characteristics leave an everlasting impression on us, and we are forever attracted to people with her facial features, body type, personality, and even her sense of humor. If a mother is absent in a child’s life then what they will be attracted to is determined by the personalities of the people surrounding them at a young age.
The third and final part of this “love map” is composed of smell. Weird right? In the animal kingdom pheromones are specific scents found in their urine or sweat.These scents actually help animals to choose a proper mate because it allows them to dictate a mate of the opposite sex with an immune system different enough from their own to produce healthy babies. Some humans also produce pheromones, but not all of us do… nonetheless, smell is still an important part of human attraction. An experiment was conducted in which a group of females smelled the unwashed shirts of a group of sweaty men, and each woman had to select the shirt that she was most attracted to the scent of. Just like i the animal world, the majority of the women chose a shirt from the male whose immune system was the most different from their own.
If someone appears to fit closely into...