Just a Friend or A Possible Partner? How We "See" a Person Depends on What Kind of Relationship We're After

Khryss | Published 2017-08-06 08:25

Ever thought of where your eyes usually linger when choosing a Tinder date? Do you think you'll focus on the same features when looking at a potential friend?

Well, a new study found that we actually scan people's body differently depending on the role we see them to possibly play in our lives.

Researchers utilized 150 heterosexuals and showed them photos of strangers on which they were asked whether they see themselves befriending or dating that person. Their eye movements were also tracked during the experiment.

“Research on attraction tends to assume there is a fixed set of characteristics that makes a person desirable. This new study shows that what people look for in a prospective relationship partner depends on their relational goals. The same person who makes a highly desirable friend may not make a good mate,” said Angela Bahns, the study's coauthor and an assistant professor of psychology at Wellesley.

Results showed that both men and women focused longer on the head or chest of an opposite-sex when judging a potential date whereas both tend to look more often at the legs or feet when making a platonic judgement.

“However, men generally looked most at the chest and waist-hip region, regardless of whether they were judging friendship or dating potential,” said Bahns, “while women looked most at the chest and head. And men were more likely to look at a person’s legs.”

I don't know with you but I'm really wondering right now how on Earth did I have such attractive friends when according to this study, I wasn't even supposed to be focusing so much on their faces?!


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