Posted by: Winslie Gomez | 26/02/2008

Attraction: Pure Chemistry or Purely Physical.


I could be rushing around a busy shopping centre (mall) minding my own business and I catch a glimpse of one of those people from a cult or the portly female with a beaming smile, trying to flog a home shopping catalogue.

So, why oh why! do they make a beeline for me. I have done my best to avoid eye-contact, I keep my eyes fixed to some far away asteroid, walked as far away as possible to the furthest available, opposite side.  Even try to blend in with the slowly gliding Goths. All to no avail!

Do I have some kind of beacon on my head with flashing invisible neon sign that blinks “Get this mug?”

My friend was telling me that this was a reality in the on-line marketing world where if you purchase or sign-up for a newsletter, your details are passed around to other firms that bombard you with junk emails.  He reckons that thousands of names of such “mugs” are traded as a commodity.  I have no idea if this is true but can accept the possibility.

Attraction, chemistry, call it what you may, is a subject that haunts me:

a) I’m rubbish at it.

b) I seem to attract all the wrong types of people.
I also recall reading an article that claimed people pick dogs that resemble themselves so was astounded to read this theory of CONVERGENCE

Psychological Science says

On People and their dogs

There are two basic mechanisms that could create an actual similarity between people and their dogs. People might select dogs that are like them, or the features of people and their dogs might converge over time.

There is some evidence that the facial appearance of married couples converges over time (Zajonc, Adelmann, Murphy, & Niedenthal, 1987); judges have rated couples physically more similar after 25 years of marriage than as newlyweds. If a similar process were to occur with people and their pets, then one might find that the ability to match them grows with the length of ownership. In contrast, if owners resemble their dogs because of selection rather than convergence, then there should be no correlation between the degree of resemblance and the time spent together.

The conclusion of the study was;

We also cannot know from these data if people can tell whether a particular person is an owner of a dog, as opposed to, say, a weasel. However, it does appear that, as in the case of selecting a spouse (Berscheid & Reis, 1998), people want a creature like themselves.

Perfectly understandable! So I put it to the test and was surprised to find that couples young and old do have similar features.

There are many theories that explain interpersonal attraction:

the proximity effect (Berscheid & Reis, 1998, Byrne 1997),

the similarity theory (Klohnen & Luo, 2003, Berscheid, 1985),

the reciprocal linking (Kenny, 1994, Murray & col., 1998),

the physical attraction (Berscheid & Reis, 1998).

the social exchange theory (Rusbult, Martz & Agnew, 1998),

the equality theory (Clark, 1984),

the evolutionist theory (Buss, 1996) and

the socio-cultural perspective of couple’s relationship (Archer, 1996).

The Chemistry of attraction is not purely on a physical level. Humans communicate in other subliminal ways.

Ask yourself, if you are looking for someone who looks like you?

Maybe you didn’t even consider it.  Any thoughts?

WTL Photos



  1. Thank you for your comment!
    Actually, the front page of today’s Independent has an article about the success of the movement! Here’s hoping it continues!

  2. Thank you Stefpie
    Appreciate the link!
    slightly off topic but hey who cares, it’s the thought that counts!

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