A group of researchers from the Cognitive Psychology Unit at the University of Leiden (The Netherlands) carried out an experiment of blind dating among heterosexual participants and determined that the romantic attraction it is associated with “invisible internal signals”, such as the synchronization of the heart rate or the variation in the electrical activity of the skin.
“Here, we measure physiological dynamics between pairs of participants during real-life dating interactions outside of the lab,” the study authors wrote, uploaded to the Nature Human Behavior platform.
To collect physiological data, precisely, the team of specialists placed eye-tracking glasses with cameras and devices on the volunteers. “We found that overt cues such as smiles, laughter, glances, or the mimicry of those cues were not significantly associated with attraction.” they explained.
Eliska Prochazkova, first signatory of the study, a psychologist at the University of Leiden, expressed that her hypothesis is that there must always be a physical manifestation when one thinks of romantic attraction, a sign of a hidden “choreography”.
In the experiment, the participants sat facing each other with a barrier in the middle that only opened when they were supposed to see each other. Then those involved rated how attracted they felt. The next step was to uncover the barrier again so that they could converse freely for two minutes. They were instructed in the next few seconds to continue with the routine, but this time without taking their eyes off each other. Meanwhile, their bodily reactions were being monitored.
The synchronization pattern was also detected in the skin perspiration. Furthermore, according to the suggestion of the manuscript, imitating the movement of the other person only represents a superficial level in the data obtained. By contrast, facial micro-expressions on blind dates managed to convey a deeper connection.
“Since this is one of the first studies that attempted to detect attraction using real-life eye tracking and physiological measurements, we recommend that researchers reproduce our findings in an even more controlled laboratory setting, ideally with a larger sample. , before attempting to use these measurements in the field (…). During these moments, a joint state of mind potentially facilitates the sensation of a ‘click’ and attraction, ”the researchers from the Netherlands concluded.