Is beauty actually in the eye of the beholder?
Yes— and in the nose and in the ear. New research suggests it’s the total package. Let’s be honest: Looks count.
There are plenty of tricks too, making oneself more physically desirable. New research suggests that appearance is just window dressing when it comes to finding someone attractive. Beauty—or true appeal—is more than skin deep. In a recent mini-review, published in Frontiers Psychology, Agata Groyecka, a researcher at the University of Wroclaw in Poland, looked at the way attractiveness is perceived and how we determine it. Along with her collaborators, she analyzes 30 years worth of research on attraction. Groyecka’s review suggests that what you smell and what you hear may play a major role in who you pursue. “Recently, most reviews focus on visual attractiveness. For example, face or body attractiveness,” explains Groyecka in a press release from Science Daily.
However, literature about other senses and their role in social relations are growing rapidly and should not be ignored. Perceiving others through all three channels gives a more reliable and broader variety of information about them. For example, she found that while we are visually attracted to people with similar genotypes, once we get close to that special someone, we tend to prefer the odor of a mate with a dissimilar genetic background.
The combination of the two preferences could help steer us to complementary genetic mates.