The Laws of Attraction

(Photo: al fernandez)

(Photo: al fernandez)

The BPS Research Digest offers a quick guide to the psychology and science of human attraction.  Their dating suggestions — based on real studies — are:

  • Dress like the person you want to date.
  • Use the power of touch.
  • Use a popular pseudonym. 
  • Wear red.
  • Make strategic use of mimicry and temperature.
  • You are not hot as you think when you’re drunk.
  • Make strategic use of your friends.
  • A flashy car can make a good impression.
  • Avoid cheesy chat-up lines. 
  • Finally, don’t take these tips too seriously. They could backfire.

And a final piece of advice: “If your dating efforts prove unsuccessful (even with the help of these top-secret psychology-based tips!) and you’re feeling lonely, try holding a teddy bear. Science says it will help.”

Dr. Jo

Use a pseudonym? A *popular* pseudonym? What does that mean?

Rubber Duck

popular pseudonym works every time for me, honey :)

Ron H

So I should dress like a beautiful woman?


It works! At least in my social circle :)


I can't help but be skeptical about some of these. I mean, dress like the person I want to date? Sorry, honey, but short-shorts and a halter top are SO not me :-)


They mean don't wear a suit if you're dating a goth chick and don't wear a wife-beater when dating a Fortune 500 exec...


Well, there's the problem: I'm supposed to guess at what they mean, even when it isn't what they actually said?


I like to use slang or dialects that are not common to where I'm from, it leads to an interesting conversation as to why I'm using these words and phrases (no real reason actually).

"How are ya'll doin"?


Largely intuitive stuff there. Wear red, sit in my Bentley, and do the mimicry thing. Yeah, we know.

Caleb b

Reminds me of the SNL skit with Tom Brady and "How to avoid sexual harassment in the office." All the women were in love with Brady's good looks so he could do anything he wanted and no one complained. Fred Armisen couldn't even look at a woman without them calling HR. "Be attractive, be good-looking, be handsome." thanks for the advice.


"A flashy car can make a good impression..." on the kind of person I'm not interested in.


A Teddy Bear? ohh, what an awful advice!


I once met a guy who wore an outfit whose colors matched what I was wearing. It was completely unplanned. Did we hit it off? Yes. Was he single? No. Would we have seriously dated if he were single? No.

I have dated a lot of people, and find that people I tend to have longer relationships with have similar intellectual/cultural capital. Also, it's usually more workable to be about as attractive as the other person is. If weight is a factor, generally a woman who weighs more has a better chance with a guy who is wider than she is. Age can be pretty important to, if you're dating someone from a different generation, conversation can be tricky. I know that all 40 year old guys want to date twenty somethings who are 'old souls' but unless they have power and money they are not going to be that compelling to attractive young women. I call this the Kissinger effect.

Investing in a nice wardrobe can be helpful, but with menswear it's hard to tell. Car? Not that critical. The biggest mistake people make is going for someone who is just out of their league. Another problem for some people is that they're living in the wrong city. There are people who date well in some places who fizz out in others.


Steve Cebalt

Just be happy with the Teddy Bear: A very low-maintenance companion. No in-laws. You can drive a beat-up car, dress like a bum, be yourself, say what you really think, hog the conversation, drink as much as you want, skip shaving, and your faithful Teddy Bear will still accept you just as you are. And it makes Valentine's day much simpler. As for sex, Carlos Danger has provided a model of an alternative lifestyle. Being serious now, human relationships are way over-rated. I think many lonely people feel like they SHOULD be in a relationship -- a societal norm that people never question. Go ahead -- question it. A lot of people would be happier alone if they could simply accept "alone" as a normal condition. There are a lot of advantages.


I agree. I have a teddy bear and a cat. I can dress up the teddy bear and he has his own facebook page, surprisingly Franklin has more facebook friends than I do and his social circle is every growing. I am getting pretty busy and am tired. A cat is perfect, she is intelligent and does not judge much, very cute and cuddle worthy! Dealing with people all day who I don't super like is enough. I don't feel like making small talk with someone who is making demands and do something that 2 people can do like watching tv. Like Greta Garbo said, "I want to be alone, I just want to be alone."