Anecdotal evidence and prior research have suggested that behavior reveals whether two people are attracted to one another upon meeting for the first time. Certain behaviors are believed to be sure signs. These include smiling, mimicking behavior and laughing. Unfortunately, such behaviors have not stood up well when tested in a scientific setting. In this new effort, the researchers tried a new approach—measuring physically uncontrollable bodily functions such as heart rate and palm sweat.
The researchers found that the scores of attractiveness the volunteers gave each other after a first quick peek did not hold up. Nor did their behavioral clues. What made a difference, they found, was the heart rate of the volunteers. Those who were truly attracted to one another began to experience synchronization, even as their heart rates rose and fell over the course of the experiment. They also found some degree of synchronization in the amount of palm sweating.