Emerging Technology

Ugly doesn’t matter, as long as you’re in love

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People who are in love are much less likely to pay close attention to the appearance of people of the opposite sex, according to research reported by New Scientist.

People who are in love are much less likely to pay close attention to the appearance of people of the opposite sex, according to research reported by New Scientist.

Florida state university researchers whipped up that lovin’ feelin’ among 57 heterosexual students by getting them to write about times when then felt extreme love for their partners. Another 56 students were just asked to write about general feelings of happiness.

All of the subjects were then bombarded with 500 microsecond flashes of 60 photos showing equal numbers of highly attractive men, highly attractive women, average-looking men, and average-looking women.

When the faces disappeared, an image of a circle or square appeared shortly afterwards. The scientists then asked the students to say which pictures they noticed, to test their subconscious visual attentiveness.

The result? The lovey-dovey students took significantly less time to nominate square or circle, suggesting they were much less distracted by the face displayed before it.

“We found that when people just thought about being in love with their current partner, their visual attention got repelled, rather than grabbed, by an attractive member of the opposite sex,” researcher Jon Maner told New Scientist. “[The repulsion] happens at the very initial stages of visual processing, at the very first moment they are aware of the photo.”

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