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Health

Speed dating not working out? Maybe it's your posture.

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Image: Flickr/MattysFlicks

Remember when your mom would yell at you to "sit up straight!"? While annoying, she was trying to look out for you. And according to this article, her advice might lead to more than just a healthy back. Here, scientists studied whether our body language affects how attractive we are. It turns out that the more "space" we take up--for example by sitting straight versus hunching over, or extending arms rather than keeping them folded--the more attractive we seem. Thanks mom!

Dominant, open nonverbal displays are attractive at zero-acquaintance. "Across two field studies of romantic attraction, we demonstrate that postural expansiveness makes humans more romantically appealing. In a field study (n = 144 speed-dates), we coded nonverbal behaviors associated with liking, love, and dominance. Postural expansiveness—expanding the body in physical space—was most predictive of attraction, with each one-unit increase in coded behavior from the video recordings nearly doubling a person’s odds of getting a “yes” response from one’s speed-dating partner. In a subsequent field experiment (n = 3,000), we tested the causality of postural expansion (vs. contraction) on attraction using a popular Global Positioning System-based online-dating application. Mate-seekers rapidly flipped through photographs of potential sexual/date partners, selecting those they desired to meet for a date. Mate-seekers were significantly more likely to select partners displaying an expansive (vs. contractive) nonverbal posture. Mediation analyses demonstrate one plausible mechanism through which expansiveness is appealing: Expansiveness makes the dating candidate appear more dominant. In a dating world in which success sometimes is determined by a split-second decision rendered after a brief interaction or exposure to a static photograph, single persons have very little time to make a good impression. Our research suggests that a nonverbal dominance display increases a person’s chances of being selected as a potential mate." Related content: The identification of attractive volatiles in aged male mouse urine.The presence of an attractive woman elevates testosterone and physical risk taking in young men.If I'm not hot, are you hot or not? Physical attractiveness evaluations and dating preferences as a function of one's own attractiveness.Mating competitors increase religious beliefs.

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