Guest Contribution: The Science of Dating

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The Internet is a great place to find dating advice. Unfortunately, most of it comes from those who have simply dated a lot. If you are reading this and want to get to a second date, then you do not want to date often. You want to date well. You want to do it right and maybe meet that special someone. The best place to look for dating instruction is in a lab. Science has done more good for romance than any online feedback ever will.

The Science of Attraction

Mate selection is strongly ingrained in our genetics, coming from the caveman days and persisting today. The reasons for attraction are multidimensional with influences from perceived masculinity, intelligence and facial symmetry. A British study showed the men who self-focus on muscle size are more oppressive to women and that women know this at some level. The takeaway from this study is that having a chiseled body may get you a second look but might not get you the second date.

The Science of Women

It’s not you. It’s me. As painful as this sounds, it may be true. Human beings are dynamic in nature. We change constantly. This is especially true for emerging adult females—women in their early 20s. A study published in the Journal of Youth Adolescence found that there is a strong link between subjective well-being and attraction in women. A woman that is happy will be more attractive and she will find a happy male to be more attractive. Hiding your feelings is never a good relationship strategy but leading with emotion on your first date probably will not work for the normal female.

The Science of Romance

The most beautiful thing that a woman can say to a man is that she secretes oxytocin when she sees him. Oxytocin is a hormone produced in the brain by the pituitary gland that has been found to effect monogamy in mammals. It is strongly linked to dopamine, the happiness hormone. Oxytocin actually makes a woman perceive you as more attractive. From a neurochemical point of view, the reason that romance is so important is that it creates a cyclic cascade of positive neurochemicals. Make her laugh during the date, and don’t forget about flowers. It’s always a nice gesture to get her a bouquet. If you want to send them to her place of work as a surprise, delivery services like FTD are are trusted resources. Be a gentleman, and keep that oxytocin flowing.

The Science of Love

Yes, it is time to use the L-word. As scary as it may be, if you want the second date it means that you want the third and fourth and fifth. According to researcher Robert Sternberg, there are three dimensions of love; commitment is one along with intimacy and passion. That perfect date will have components of each of these. It means sharing enough to be intimate without oversharing, being physical enough without groping and opening up the possibility that this can be forever. Let the science of dating be the foundation for finding love. Make every date an attempt at discovering happiness.

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