The Laws of Attraction

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.
  • The FREAK-est Links

    17 people indicted for identity theft in New York. (Earlier) Economists and psychologists tackle speed dating. Everything you ever wanted to know about U.S. cities. A foolproof strategy for winning at Monopoly. (Hat tip: BoingBoing)

    FREAK-TV: What Do Online Daters Lie About?

    Video This is a subject we wrote about in Freakonomics, based on a really interesting paper called “What Makes You Click?” by Günter J. Hitsch, Ali Hortaçsu, and Dan Ariely. The story we told in the book was an aggregate one, based on thousands of online daters’ data. But we thought it would make sense […]

    The Economics of Sugar Daddying

    Not long ago, Levitt wrote about a Craigslist posting in which a woman solicited advice in marrying a man who made more than $500,000 a year. That posting eventually made the international media rounds, from the Times to the BBC News to Scientific American. But journalists have yet to jump on the wealth of posts […]

    The Economics of Gold-Digging

    The following story is currently making the rounds on the Internet. The events probably didn’t happen exactly as described, but for my purposes it doesn’t really matter. Supposedly, a woman posted the following personal ad on Craigslist: What am I doing wrong? Okay, I’m tired of beating around the bush. I’m a beautiful (spectacularly beautiful) […]

    What’s That Have to Do With the Price of Corn?

    The rising price of corn due to ethanol demand will have a variety of unintended consequences. As noted earlier on this blog, it might even make Americans skinnier, since food manufacturers may start using a cheaper (and less fattening) substitute for corn syrup. Along these same lines, I heard a story not long ago at […]

    More Than Just a Haircut

    Back when I was a graduate student at MIT in desperate need of a haircut, I stumbled into a place called The Hair Connection. Little did I know it would change my life. A pleasant woman named Carmella cut my hair, and even offered me a generous student discount. I soon became a loyal customer, […]

    The Science of Insulting Women

    While VH1 debuts a reality show on picking up women, researchers gather data on the psychology of retaining your partner once she's safely hooked.

    And Today Is…

    July 19 is Flitch Day, a surviving relic from Medieval England in which married couples appear before a “mock court.” Those who can prove that they had “lived in harmony and fidelity” for the past twelve months were awarded a flitch, defined as a “salted and cured side of bacon.” According to, “very few […]

    The Science of Large Breasts, and Other Evolutionary Verities

    I blogged nearly a year ago about a study by the evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa which argued that beautiful women sometimes marry unattractive men because of the following supply/demand gap: there are simply more good-looking women than there are good-looking men. One reason, Kanazawa said, is that beauty is a more valuable trait for a […]