Thursday, July 31, 2014

Attraction and Perception

Physical attraction, without a doubt, is an important characteristic of any relationship.  On the more evolutionary/psychological level, it allows us to pick partners who appear to be healthy and who carry good genes.  As we learned, we also choose our mates, on this level, with the intention of passing on good genes to our children, and increasing the potential for healthy kids.  We understand that this is a part of life, and we accept it.  We cannot apologize or feel guilty for something that is literally innately embedded in our minds.   What I think is particularly interesting about this facet of relationships though, is how much personality can shape physical attraction to a person.  I know for me, I have been completely physically attracted to someone who, had I not known their sexy/kind/etc personality, I probably would not have considered attractive (to me).  And I have also dated men who were universally very good looking, but whose personalities, once I saw them a little closer, made me lose all physical attraction to them.   With that said, a good looking person, with a fabulous personality, makes them off the charts attractive.  To see how much something physical is effected so greatly by psychological forces and how we end up perceiving these contributions is mind-blowing.  It shows us, in  sense, how the physical world is constantly altered by our own perceptions of it.  And since everyone has a different mind, the same thing can have endless disparities in the minds of two people.

With all of that said, and how much the physical world is effected by our own perceptions, our perceptions and preferences, maybe personalities,  are also shaped by the physical world.  I imagine this is just one big correlation, as it is hard to determine causation, but an article written by Eric Dolan "Men’s Personality and Preferences in Female Body Shape", explains a 1968 study done out of the University of Illinois that relates the attraction to certain female body types to specific personality traits in men.  The results where interesting.  From the site:  "According to Wiggins and his colleagues, preference for the figure with large breasts, large buttocks, and large legs “was associated with a need for achievement” while those who preferred the figure with small breasts, buttocks, and legs were “not cynical about authority and reported coming from an upper-class background.” Preference for the standard figure “was associated with heterosexuality and a tendency to be disorganized in personal habits.”  

Heres the link for anyone interestd in the article:

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