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The Psychology of Attraction: What do We Consider Eye-Catching?

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. While this may be true in the sense that the heart has a powerful sway over the mind and our senses, scientifically what we find attractive may be based more in our genes. Did you know that the human eye is actually consistently drawn to the same types of features, characteristics, and aesthetic values? What makes something or someone attractive and appealing? Have you ever met a person that was just “everybody’s type?”

It turns out that certain colors, types of shapes, symmetry, and organization generally catch our eye.

Symmetry

Babies have been found to spend more time staring at a picture of a person with symmetrical features than a person with asymmetrical features (meaning features that are dissimilar on the right and left sides). Even Plato believed symmetrical features were attractive, so much so that he developed a theory on the “golden proportions.” Scientists also believe that symmetry reflects a strong immune system in humans, a preference also exhibited by wild animals.

The Color of Attraction

Recently we’ve looked at the psychology of color with respect to marketing, and what we’ve learned is that humans react strongly to color. Red often evokes strong emotional feelings of fear, anger and passion, which is why it’s commonly used as the stop signal in traffic lights. Blue is associated with loyalty and trustworthiness, which is why it is so popular among brands.

The Psychology of Shapes

Shapes, a major factor in web design and marketing, also play heavily into our psychology. Squares bring a sense of logic, order, containment, and security while circles are often associated with warmth, family, comfort, sensuality, and love. Triangles represents balance, strength, energy, and science.

What do we find unattractive besides asymmetry or lack of balance? People normally don’t like clashing colors. Sorry, fellas, those borderline-orange cargo pants with that green polo are no good!

What’s your favorite color and shape? Do you think your preferences reveal a deeper truth about you?

   
 
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