According to an Indiana University study, you’re considerably more appealing to suitors if the suitors think you’re popular. So, if you’ve ever thought you’re more attractive to the opposite sex when your S.O. is around, it isn’t in your imagination. You are.
Researchers videotaped a slew of speed daters and then presented the tapes to 40 women and 40 men. Overwhelmingly, they found that if the speed dater was adequately charming their date and the person sitting opposite was interested, those viewing had a higher opinion of the dater in the hot seat. Yet if conversation was awkward, or the person on the receiving end seemed bored, viewers tended to rate them as less attractive. Scientists also estimate looks matter most when it comes to dating competition. If men viewed the other guys wooing the potential girl as handsome, it kicked in some evolutionary competitive streak that made her more desirable. The same went for women. But that’s not shocking—we’re constantly comparing ourselves to others!
“We might think that searching for mates is a process best done individually, that we can best gather the appropriate information by ourselves,” lead author Skyler Place, a researcher in Indiana University’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, said in a university news release. “But humans, like many other animals, also pay attention to the preferences of others, to make for a more efficient search process. Who others like might also be a good choice for ourselves.” We are super impressionable, huh?
This is made abundantly clear if you flip through an old high school yearbook. You’ll wonder why on Earth such a fuss was made about one person and not another. The same goes for the adult world. What exactly makes the “Most Desirable” celebrities featured in magazines most desirable?
Alas, the biggest note to self: chat up as many hot strangers as possible in social situations.