When the sight or memory of a person stirs up butterflies in the stomach, is it a sign that this someone is special, is romantically the one, or it is another game of biology and its hormones playing tricks with your psychology?
Psychologist Arthur Aron of the State University of New York tells the Time Magazine that people who meet during a crisis like an emergency landing of their airplane, may be much more inclined to believe they’ve found the person meant for them.
“It’s not that we fall in love with such people because they’re immensely attractive,” he says.
That explains why some people often find love under flashing disco lights or when under the influence of alcohol. It has nothing to do with love but the prevailing circumstances.
The brain tricks you to believe that there is something special between the two people, when actually the whole cause is ‘ideal’ environment tricking you to find someone in the environment to fall in love with.
If you are the kind who dreams about finding the love of your life at the beach in bikinis, then when spend time at the shores of the Kivu in Gisenyi, you might end up falling for the first belle who looks your way.
To the disappointment of people who believe in fate and how it brings people meant for each other when the time is just right, science seems to pin it down on the circumstances of meeting and most importantly the role of the five senses in meshing up the attraction or arousal between two people.
“If you ask a load of men in a room what they find attractive, it is often eye contact. It produces a physiological response in the opposite sex,” says Elizabeth Clark, the author for Flirting for Dummies.
“If a lady is staring at you for 10 seconds, it’s because she wants you. Women always get themselves into trouble by doing that. They think they’re being friendly, but men interpret it differently.” Again, it’s about the senses.
“You slowly winnow out those individuals who don’t look the part, feel the part, touch the part and you are left with the kind of person who you think is right for you. And at that point, boom!” said Rutgers University anthropology professor Helen Fisher to ABC News.
It is not only the men imagining things because they caught someone’s eye in a glimpse. Women also have some issues with their sense of smell.
According to The Independent UK, studies show that men’s smell is more appealing to women (subconsciously) around the time they are ovulating. This facilitates contact at the key moment for conception.
“They are looking for the best genes,” says Dr Mark Sergeant, a psychology lecturer at Nottingham Trent University. Love at first sight may be too ideal, but science has found out that there can be love at first taste or love at first smell.
“There can be testosterone in men’s saliva. The man is sort of slipping a chemical ‘dose’ (during a kiss) that acts as an aphrodisiac on the woman,” says Jeffrey Kluger of Time Magazine. That kiss could potentially determine whether a couple’s genes are compatible enough to produce a healthy offspring.
One of the most outstanding examples of the role of biology in the cycle of “falling and keeping in love” is the pheromone (a chemical substance secreted externally by some animals (especially insects) that influences the physiology or behavior of other animals of the same species).
Though hardly explained in the behavior of humans, it is widely accepted to be behind the synchronisation of menstrual cycles in women who live in close quarters.
By Dr. Peter W. Kujtan, in his book, ‘The Love of Scent’ explains that Pheromones may help explain the head over heels love reaction that develops if first meeting factors are optimum.
It is well known to be a transient phase in human courting behavior. But the right mood, ambiance, physical cues and other factors seem to be vital in maximizing our pheromone potential. So there you go. This Valentine, try keeping your nose up, the pheromones might just waft your way!