Love as a Hypothesis
We never question the concept of love and how this occurs. With the increase of multiculturalism around the world, it is inevitable that race is becoming a factor in finding a romantic partner. Although how significant is it? The journey begins by delving deep into the biological factors that impact love.
Initially, humans are animals seeking survival on Earth. All of Earth’s living organisms obtain the mindset of survival to allow their species to successfully thrive; leading to a large focus on faultless reproduction. This element of an animals instinctive need, is integral to the origins of the behaviour of human attraction and repulsion. Biologically for offspring to gain favourable characteristics for the organisms environment, physical appearance is important; thus a partner with healthy physical attributes is more likely to be attractive. Dr Ian Stephan claims “There are cues to our health and there are cues to our fertility in our face”, expanding on the biological factors of fertility, determining the preference of a partner through appearance; due to instinct like survival methods. Dr Stephan continues to suggest that the appearance of similar races, are more likely to attract one another due to their familiar appearance of health.
Through observing other ethnicities within the community, I began to wonder who looked more attractive in my eyes. I came to the conclusion that people with tanned skin were more attractive than lighter skin, in my perspective. As a medium tanned asian, this supports Dr Ian Stephan’s notion, and follows through with the impacts of ones instinctual actions.
Underneath the surface of physical attraction, there is are additional biological influencing factors, although scent is a major component. Humans can sense pheromones within secreted bodily fluids (eg.sweat) within other humans. These pheromones are responsible for attraction and repulsion through the “chemical compounds” that one can differentiate chemical traits. According to scientific research, men can sense levels of fertility in women, as well as females able to sense the MHC (Major Histocompatibility Complex) molecule in a males pheromones. These determine immunity levels and therefore improve the viability of potential offspring.
These biological factors may differentiate between races, accounting for the attraction and repulsion of specific ethnicities. Through my performed questionnaire, it was evident that people mostly preferred their own ethnicity to others. This may reflect that the similarities in biological characteristics within ones own ethnicity, creates a stronger attraction due to familiarity. Surprisingly most of the male responses claimed that they would not date outside their own ethnicities, whilst the females were more accepting to date outside their own nationality. Reflecting on the females innate biological thoughts that they need ‘perfect’ offspring, it is evident that ethnicity isn’t majorly accountable when it comes to attraction. As for males, they might only seek for their sexual pleasures to be fulfilled with the attraction to people of similar race, due to the process of nurture and familiarity of appearances.
These biological factors may not be as important within our contemporary society, as humans have expanded their sexuality to the attraction of same sex. We have eliminated the conventions of man and woman, which demolishes the purpose of attraction for survival, and changes the “rules of attraction”. An interviewed female student claimed, “I don’t think there is a scientific explanation”, she suggests that it is “what you are exposed to and how you are raised”. Comparing it to an interviewed male student in which he proposes,…”…”. These offer an insight into the socially constructed concepts of attraction within ‘love’ that changes the boundaries of attraction; to rely on the spiritual methods of attraction.
However, biology continues to suggest the search for flawless offspring, correlates to the appearance of body symmetry. More aligned body symmetry is considered more attractive, than people who have less symmetry, as the subconscious can identify the level of perfection in DNA within another person. Also known as Bilateral Symmetry, it reveals the amount of oxidative stress which accounts for the damage in DNA, and is displayed in the physical symmetry of a person. These chemicals differentiate between individuals, which leads to the questioning of whether it actually relates to all ethnicities; resulting less of an impact towards this socio-cultural issue within our contemporary society.
In conjunction to the attraction of ones biological familiarities, we could link the nurtural familiarities towards the concept of ideal body types within different countries. As people located in the same area experience the similar environmental changes and nurturing techniques, they develop ideas of their shared social standards.What is perceived to be attractive in one country can dramatically differ from another, as their fantasised concepts shape ones ideal attraction.
Economically developed countries, usually prefer thinner women due to the easy accessibility of food that allows them to choose to be ‘healthier’. As for less developed countries, they often idealise larger bodies as it demonstrates the means to afford more food and, therefore reflect a ‘healthier’ state. This idea of the ‘healthier’ complexion, is mirrored through the stereotypical preferences of lighter skin for Asians and darker skin for western populations; due to the need to be perceived as wealthy vs. the need to match ones cultural lifestyle. An Interviewed Caucasian Australian female discussed “we want to show we go to the beach and stay outside as it’s our culture.”, revealing the Australian perception of healthy is matched with its lifestyle. An episode on ‘Insight’ interviewed a female Asian Australian one who claimed “for a lot of Asian people, being dark skinned is actually associated with working labour class”.
The conceptualised meaning of ‘health’, evidently varies between different countries, where it is also detected within body odour. Unknowingly it is a feature of where prejudice thoughts derive from about another country. E.g. Most East Asians carry a gene called ABCC11 which prevents them from producing odourless sweat. Would this make them more attractive to others, and would this make them more repelled to any other nationalities?
It has produced the ideas of western people being more gross in body odour than other ethnicities; as their first impressions of them are mostly determined by their scent. This could relate to the communities within Australia, as the people with the same race are most likely to befriend each other than those of different race, depending on their location. However, there is also the contribution of similarity in personalities in determining ones match of partner to consider.
Features of attraction are not only solely based off biological traits. The evolved articulate human which diverged from chimps, have/will continue to develop the nature, values and perceptions of the concept, ‘love’. Now, how we converse with others as well as our mannerisms, can gradually make our decision on whether we are more or less attracted to the other; based off visual clues and an in-depth analysis of a persons personality.
We significantly appreciate an individuals personality and values, which manipulate the original influence of attraction; in accordance to the adaptation of ‘love’ in contemporary society. ‘Love’ is a romanticised socially constructed concept where geography and reciprocity of similarities and differences, play a part in modern day attraction. Questionnaire results displayed most participants preferring personality over appearance, if they had to choose one or the other. Despite this, it is important to remember that the individuals mindset may be false within the respondents, as the contemporary social standard mindset has evolved a conformed belief on personality over appearance; thus the social construct maintains its fantasised state. Supporting their results, when asked why they had chosen their answer, respondents claimed the necessities a romantic partner should have, matching personal lifestyles and their likes and dislikes. This emphasises the process of reciprocity that ones modern attraction feeds off.
In opposition a philosopher Alain De Botton projects, “We fall in love hoping we won’t find in another what we know is ourselves”. He explores the notions of ones desire to fulfil a void within their life whether it be faults in their personality or the opposition of personalities that they desire. Life is constantly an exploration to fulfil this desire. A philosophers perspective enables a sense of opposing familiarity to create comfort in developing an attraction to another. Whereas dating coach Robyn, from Blue Label Life suggests, “attraction is connection and energy, how comfortable you feel with someone”, explaining ones familiarity with another to influence higher levels of attraction. Both offer evidence of why one would contemplate thoroughly about another’s ethnic background when in search of a romantic partner. De Botton explores the modern mindset where one may attract the opposite from themselves, as for Robyn, who’s spiritual connection is based of fate, which may lead to the attraction of other ethnicities or not.
Additionally the location of one another is a factor of love. Studies have revealed that people who live closer to each other are more likely to fall in love than others that live further apart. It makes sense. The closer you are to one another the more interaction and connection you gain from the other person, which may explain why long distance relationships don’t work. But with technologies such as phones, and laptops where Face-time and talking communication can occur, does this limit the impact of location? The ability to communicate through technology enables people to interact with one another, creating improved connections between people who are far apart. Although it may not improve romantic emotions towards the other, due to the loss of connection. Through words which doesn’t express the major factors of communication; such as tone, facial expressions, body gestures and specific dictation.
These ultimately apply to modern day romance and suggest the changing perception of ‘love’. Subconsciously you have and will be continually analysing these factors within everyone, and the same applies to all of humanity, as ones search of finding a companion is inevitable. Both factors of appearance and personality apply equally to the functioning of attraction. However this is a subconscious action and therefore most do not know that they are constantly judging people by their appearance in order for them to achieve the most compatible offspring for the current time and environment.
Blinded by the subconscious’ goal to survive, we don’t notice that the details of a persons traits would determine someones romantic interest. However, as an evolutionary psychologist claims within ‘Insight: Dating Race’, “even though we genetically benefit from having offspring with other races, we don’t have any history in doing so.” These physical and chemical attributes are evident in impacting the influence of race on dating preferences. Although contemporary society also suggests our attraction to people is more profound than biological contributions.