9 November 2021

Love at first synchronous heartbeat

RedHerring The Back Page

People who are romantically attracted to each other tend to have synchronous physiological responses, a Dutch study suggests. 

The hearts of a couple who find each other attractive don’t skip a beat exactly but they do beat faster around the same time just as sparks are beginning to fly. 

Researchers from The Netherlands recruited heterosexual people to go on blind dates and tracked their eye movements, heart rates and skin conductance as they got to know each other.

The paper, published in Nature Human Behaviour in November, reported that none of the superficial signs of attraction (such as laughing or smiling at the same time) had anything to do with whether they’d make it to date number two. 

“We found that overt signals such as smiles, laughter, eye gaze or the mimicry of those signals were not significantly associated with attraction,” the researchers said in the paper.

The main predictor of whether a couple were meant to be was synchronised heart rates and perspiration on the skin – “which are covert, unconscious and difficult to regulate”, the researchers said.

“Our findings suggest that interacting partners’ attraction increases and decreases as their subconscious arousal levels rise and fall in synchrony.”

A less covert sign of attraction…

What can we all take away from this? Perhaps OkCupid should team up with FitBit and equip everyone on blind dates with heart rate monitors so they can stop wasting their time with people who just aren’t that into them? 

Another sign that you will find true love is sending story tips to felicity@medicalrepublic.com.au all at the same time 

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