When asked about the moment he knew Meghan Markle was the one, Prince Harry claimed the realization struck ‘the very first time we met.’
But, new research has cast fresh doubts on the idea of love at first sight.
The truth, while far less romantic, may be that these strong initial feelings simply boil down to lust.
Despite reports of love at first sight being relatively common, the study found neither high passion nor feelings of love are involved at all; instead, the phenomenon is strongly associated with physical attraction.
When asked about the moment he knew Meghan Markle was the one, Prince Harry claimed the realization struck ‘the very first time we met.’ But, new research has cast fresh doubts on the idea of love at first sight
WHY WE FALL IN LOVE
Researchers at the University of Wroclaw have found evidence that ‘selection promoted love in human evolution,’ as it increased the chances of us having families.
The team studied the Hadza people of Tanzania, who don’t use modern contraception, and found passionate partnerships were associated with having more children.
In modern societies, factors such as contraction disrupt the link between love and number of children.
The Hadza are believed to have changed little in the last 10,000 years.
‘Our study may shed new light on the meaning of love in humans’ evolutionary past, especially in traditional hunter-gatherer societies in which individuals, not their parents, were responsible for partner choice’, researchers wrote in the study.
In the study, researchers from the University of Groningen investigated the many factors that could influence the experience of love at first sight (LAFS).
Previous studies have linked the phenomenon to biased memory, physical attraction, and infatuation, which could cause people to retrospectively say they felt an instant connection.
To find out more about it, the researchers analyzed the responses of 396 participants, most of whom were heterosexual students in their 20s.
The study included an online survey and a laboratory study, along with three dating events: face-to-face dating, speed dating, and ‘vegadates’ – an informal gathering with food provided.
Participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire about themselves and about potential partners before interacting with them, assessing physical attractiveness, LAFS, eros (associated with high passion), and feelings of intimacy, passion, and commitment.
Despite reports of love at first sight being common, the study found neither high passion nor feelings of love were involved
Across the entire study, love at first sight was indicated 49 times, by 32 different individuals, according to the researchers.
But, the vast majority did not report experiencing the phenomenon.
The data also revealed that men were more likely to report love at first sight on the spot than women.
And, physical attraction was strongly tied to reports of love at first sight.
‘As hypothesized, those who reported LAFS experienced strong physical attraction toward their dates,’ the authors noted.
‘Physical attraction strongly increased the likelihood of LAFS.’
The connection between the two was significant; the study found that the probability of reporting love at first sight was roughly 9 times higher for each 1-unit increase on the physical attraction scale.
Previous studies have linked the phenomenon to biased memory, physical attraction, and infatuation, which could cause people to retrospectively say they felt an instant connection. Stock image
And, the phenomenon appeared to have little to do with passion or actual feelings of love.
‘The moment of LAFS does not seem to be marked by high passion for a person and does not seem to involve feelings of love at all, but a readiness to experience them at best,’ the authors concluded.
‘Reporting LAFS with a partner is associated with experiencing more love and passion in the relationship.
‘We conclude that LAFS is a strong initial attraction that some label as LAFS – either retrospectively or in the moment of first sight.’