Who decides who I love?

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In the BCC's video The Secret You, the question is explored, who is in charge of your decisions, you or your neurons, and is there a distinction between the two? This question , and the rather grey answer that was presented at the end, makes me think about our decisions in lovers. While it's clear that there very much is a subjective, conscious decision making process when determining a "mate", it's undeniable that biology and a subconscious decision making process influence our decision. In the article, The Biology of Attraction by Helen E. Fisher, Fisher writes about "Odor Lures" and "Love maps". Women are muchflirting-blog 2 pic.jpg more sensitive to odor than men, such that we can smell a mild sweat from three feet away. Generally speaking, men are drawn to good-looking, spunky women while women are drawn to men with money and/or property. Biologically, it makes perfect sense. Men want women who will produce viable offspring, and women want men that can support their children. I've been taught that I should not choose a partner based off of income, but I cannot help but find someone more appealing if I know that they are successful. So if I consciously know that I should not find interest in someone based off of money, but am attracted to success, then is my conscious part of my brain choosing my lover, or is my neurons making the final decisions for me?


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Your blog provided really good information and posed really good questions at the end, questions I would be interested in learning the answer to! I have heard that men are attracted to women who can produce viable offspring and that women want men that can support their children, but I never knew where that urge came from. Really intriguing!

I have heard this argument before but I also think there are exceptions to this theory. As a woman if we are looking for someone who is successful it means more than they will be able to support a family. It also means that they are passionate about something, willing to work hard to get there, and committed to achieving something. Also, not to sound crude but a man who wants to date someone who is good looking might also be thinking, "hey, she'll be fun to look at in bed!". Although these attractions may be rooted in biological tendencies they may no longer be connected to our decisions today. The one biological attraction that I still may agree with is pheromones.

I have also heard about this before. Could nature vs. Nurture also play a part in this situation? Depending on where you are from does that cause you to look for a certain time of male or female? For example, if you are from a small town does that cause you to look for a certain type of mate. In contrast if you are from a city does that also cause you to look for a certain type of person? I also wonder if nature plays a role in this and if so how big of one?

This blog post presents a very interesting question. The last comment is also interesting in exploring the nature vs. nurture side of this. It certainly would be interesting to discover what exactly makes us attracted to what! I'm sure it's a little of both, based on what kind of person you are attracted to because of who you are raised around, but the pheromones and other things like that which we pick up biologically are also very interesting areas of this subject that are good to think about.

This is a widely debatable topic because knowing that the brain is plastic-we can also know and assume that sexuality is plastic. This can be proven by thinking back on evolution. It was originally thought that men and women were chosen specifically by their body types-men being chosen if they are more muscular and therefore can protect the woman and women being chosen if they have an hour-glass figure and therefore being able to reproduce offspring. However, as we all know, this fact as drastically changed as humans and our brains have evolved. Now decisions of mates are more guided by societal and cultural differences as well as what is needed for a specific person. In the end when you say "conscious part of your brain" there really is no conscious part of the brain that is not composed of neurons. But rather, our neurons are "consciously" affected by the environments we grow up in, which intern also effects the mates/relationships we will choose later in life.

I think if someone knows complete answer for this question, he or she would become a billionaire. Everybody wants to be attractive to opposite sex, and people try to appeal what they think it is important. Some try to appeal their appearances and some try to appeal their financial success. I think many different things affect who we fall in love. It is difficult to explain how we fall in love by giving only one reason because it cannot be explained by only one reason. For example, if someone advocates that physical appearance is only factor that affects how we fall in love. However, physical appearance is closely relate to culture and how people in specific culture think what is beautiful.

I love the bit on flirting in the linked article- its universal. Somehow it seems that neurons do play a massive part in our selection of partners. It makes sense for us to choose subconsciously based on traits that would be considered desirable for mating and producing offspring. But is this more of a nature vs nurture? How could couples that are obviously are not functional (substance abusive/ physically abusive) be explained when thinking logically, neither has things to contribute to a 'successful' mating (from a biological stand point).

This is such an interesting topic to deal with because, I have been always pursuing how to attract woman. I totally agree with the idea that women look more on the property of men. However, what I learned from many sources is that women are more attracted to socially powerful men. What I learn from your blog is the women's sensitivity to odor. Later on, I will try some good perfume to become more attractive to women.

This is a very intriguing topic. The article you included was interesting as well. I especially liked the part about the pupils dilating when interested in another. I thought that it was mentioned in the book that we, as humans, find dilated pupils more attractive. I do wonder if this is something we are born with or an instinct that kicks in after a certain age.
I have a question about the idea that women are naturally attracted to wealthier men. Are men also attracted to wealthier women in cultures where the land/wealth is handed down the female lineage?

An interesting question. I also agree with other responses that success doesn't necessarily imply wealth or property. Passion for something, anything can be one of the most attractive features of either sex. I refuse to believe that our choices are completely biological, but I do agree that pheromones and reproductive instincts play a role. I think that the power of love resides in both.

Humans have weird standards about picking their partners, money, social status, sexual pleasure, and etc. What should be the most rational way to pick your mate?

Interestingly, one of the number one reasons women give for divorce is lack of income and "motivation" in the male partner (not providing enough for the family). This is certainly not the case in men's reasons for divorce. So maybe it extends beyond initial attraction!

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This page contains a single entry by warff001 published on February 26, 2012 10:24 PM.

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