July 20, 2019   11:54pm
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Is it love that you’re feeling?

As reported in New Scientist, Love really is blind, or at least blinkered, by Rachel Nowak

Finally, an answer to the age old question asked by that hard rock band Whitesnake — Is this love? That I’m feeling? Well, researchers at Florida State University have the answer: “People who are in love pay less visual attention to attractive people of the opposite sex,” a recent study concludes. So if you find yourself taking an extra glance at the attractive male at the next table, it might not be the real thing.

“Jon Maner at Florida State University in Tallahassee, US, and colleagues asked 57 students in heterosexual relationships to write about occasions they felt extreme love towards their partner. Another 56 students wrote about feeling extreme happiness.

The students then viewed 500 microsecond flashes of 60 photos, comprising equal numbers of highly attractive men, highly attractive women, average-looking men, and average-looking women.

As the faces disappeared, a square or a circle appeared elsewhere on the screen. The students were instructed to identify the object as quickly as possible – a measure of a person’s visual attention at a subconscious level.

Students primed with thoughts of love took significantly less time to identify shapes after viewing an attractive face of the opposite sex, compared with those who had written essays on happiness.”

The study also suggests that to be repelled by beauty while in love may be an evolutionary adaptation of pair bonding. Looks like the whole “look but don’t touch” rule just got a little stickier.

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