5 Strange Health Facts About Love

A couple standing near each other and smilingMany people believe that  crazy thing called love is all about fate, destiny and magic.

But experts have also discovered some interesting facts about love that are very much based on science. Such as…

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1. Birth control pills affect women’s hormone levels – and to whom they become attracted. In one study, researcher Tony Little showed women different images of men and asked them to make their picks. His results showed that the women taking birth control pills tended to choose men with more pronounced masculine features than those who weren’t on them. The downside here? These manly traits are linked to high testosterone levels, aggressive behavior, and even higher divorce rates than the average.

2. Women want to date men who smell like their fathers. In one study by geneticist Carole Ober, female subjects were asked to sniff shirts of various scents and then state their preferences ranked by smell. Over and over again, subjects chose the odors that closely matched those of their fathers.

3. If you need an ambitious man, you may want to look for someone whose hand features a long fourth finger. Here’s why: If your date’s ring finger is longer than his or her index finger, it’s an indication that this person was exposed to higher than average amounts of testosterone in the womb, says Dr. John T. Manning of Rutgers University in his book, Digit Ratio. This correlates to having a personality which tends to be logical, decisive and ambitious.

4. Want to make an instant connection? Do something daring together on your next date, such as going to an amusement park or watching a scary movie. Research by Arthur Aron and Donald Dutton published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows that adrenaline ups our interest in a potential mate. The reason? The exhilaration of being in a risky situation rubs off on the person you’re with.

5. Personalities merge over time. Do you feel the chemistry getting stronger and stronger between you and your significant other? You two may really be merging, says researcher Cameron Anderson, who interviewed 60 couples and roommates for a study published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. By gauging his subjects’ reactions to a film after they had lived together for one year, Anderson found that their personalities tended to converge over time, though the dominant partner changed his or her personality less than the other did.

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What's Race Got To Do With Online Dating?

A woman typing on her laptop with a yellow coffee mug beside herThere are many advantages and disadvantages to online dating. Where does race fit in that spectrum?

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Apparently, race still matters online. People still self-segregate as much as they do in face-to-face interactions; most, that is, still reach out to members of their own racial background. But people are more likely to reciprocate a cross-race overture than previous research would lead to us to expect. And — once they have replied to a suitor from a different race — people are then themselves more likely to cross racial lines and initiate interracial contact in the future.

A study of romantic social networks considered only heterosexual interactions, for apples-to-apples comparison with the majority of previous findings, and only those individuals, for the sake of simplicity, who self-identify with one and only one of the top five most populous of OkCupid’s racial categories: Black, White, Asian (East Asian), Hispanic/Latino and Indian (South Asian).

Only the first message sent and the first reply were analyzed. All messages were stripped of content. Only data on the sender, receiver and timestamp of the message were available.

The tendency to initiate contact within one’s own race, the study observes, is strongest among Asians and Indians and weakest among whites. And the biggest “reversals” are observed among groups that display the greatest tendency towards in-group bias, and also when a person is being contacted by someone from a different racial background for the first time.

Based on a lifetime of experiences in a racist and racially segregated society, people anticipate discrimination on the part of a potential recipient and are largely unwilling to reach out in the first place. But if a person of another race expresses interest in them first, their assumptions are falsified — and they are more willing to take a chance on people of that race in the future.

The effect is short-lived, however: People go back to habitual patterns in about a week.

Why? The new-found optimism is quickly overwhelmed by the status quo, by the normal state of affairs. Racial bias in assortative mating is a robust and ubiquitous social phenomenon, and one that is difficult to surmount even with small steps in the right direction. We still have a long way to go.

Online dating is providing new insights into the timeless social process of finding a romantic partner.

Not only does dating on the internet have more and more social impact, he said — the most rigorous estimates suggest that nowadays over 20 percent of heterosexual and nearly 70 percent of same-sex relationships begin online — but it is also a novel and rich source of data. Previous work on mate selection has often been based on marriage records, which don’t contain any information about a romance’s early days, or on self-report surveys, when people are more likely to present themselves in the best, least-prejudiced light.

These “digital footprints” of online interactions can give us a glimpse of interpersonal dynamics at the very start of romantic relationships. We can begin to change our ingrained patterns of choosing partners -because they are often based on false premises.