Which body part do men find most attractive? Does smiling boost your sex appeal? Dr. Melissa Lem answers these burning questions and more in this true or false quiz on the science of love.
1. Women find men who wear the colour red most attractive.
True! In a 2010 study from the Journal of Experimental Psychology, men who wore red were rated as more powerful, attractive and sexually desirable. Studies also show that men find ladies in red to be more eye-catching. Scientists think the crimson hue is a biological signal for sexual excitement, since the effect also occurs in non-human primates like baboons.
2. Carrying a musical instrument doubles your chances of scoring a phone number.
True! A recent study from France had a 20-year-old man ask women on the street for their phone numbers. Thirty-one per cent of women gladly gave him their digits when he was carrying a guitar, but only 14 per cent when he was empty-handed. Men who post online profile photos of themselves holding a guitar are three times more likely to have their friend requests accepted. Researchers believe that musical ability could be a sign of better genetics and intelligence—so forget the sports car and buy a guitar!
3. The body part that makes a woman most attractive to men is her breasts.
False! A 2011 study from New Zealand analyzed men who looked at pictures of the same woman digitally altered to have different breast and waist sizes. Although men spent the most time gazing at her breasts, the model’s waist-to-hip ratio was what determined her attractiveness, irrespective of cup size! A waist that measures 60 to 80 per cent smaller than the hips is considered most appealing.
4. Eye makeup is better than lipstick for boosting your sex appeal.
True! Volunteers in a 2003 study from the International Journal of Cosmetic Science rated five different pictures of the same woman in order of attractiveness. Men ranked a full face of makeup as most attractive, followed by just foundation, then just eye makeup. After no makeup at all, lipstick only was rated as least attractive. So if you’re running out of time before a date, science says to focus on your skin and eyes and skip the lips!
5. Men who marry younger women live longer.
True! A 2010 German study showed that older men who married younger women were up to 20 per cent less likely to die — and the greater the age gap, the lower the risk. Unfortunately, the opposite applies to women: marrying a considerably younger or older partner increased their risk of death by up to 30 per cent! One theory is that younger women encourage older men to stay active and social, but wives with younger husbands are less socially accepted, leading to more stress and worse health.
6. Going out with a big group of friends makes you appear more good looking than if you go out with a couple of friends.
True! A recent study from California revealed that men and women were found to be significantly more attractive when seen in a group of four or more as compared to alone. This “cheerleader effect” or “sorority girl syndrome” is likely caused by a trick of the brain: when we see a face in a crowd, it appears more like the group’s average — which humans typically find more attractive than outliers.
7. Men who smile are sexier than those who don’t.
False! Happy guys apparently finish last. In a 2011 study from the University of British Columbia, women rated photos of proud and brooding men as more sexually attractive than their happy, smiling counterparts. Scientists suspect that pride communicates better status and resources, while a grin could indicate neediness and desperation. Interestingly, men in the same study found smiling women significantly more attractive. So guys, if you’re looking for a fling, practice that moody look, and ladies, a smile is your best accessory!