These Qualities Make You More Attractive, According to Science

Describe your perfect partner. Do they have a great sense of humor? A winning smile? Everyone has certain traits they find incredibly attractive and some seem to be more universal than others. Here are six qualities that can make a person appear more attractive, according to science.

Be kind

If you want to attract a partner, it might be true that kindness is the new cool. A 2014 study divided participants into three groups and asked them to rate the attractiveness of faces in photographs. The results didn’t vary significantly among the groups. Then, two weeks later, the groups rated the same photographs again except this time each group received either positive, negative or no descriptors about the people in the photos. Not unexpectedly, the photos attached to positive personality traits such as “decent” or “honest” received higher attractiveness scores than they did during the first rating. There wasn’t much of a change between the first and second ratings for the photos with no descriptors. And the photos that had negative descriptors dropped in their attractiveness scores.

Moreover, a similar study from 2013 asked participants to rate the attractiveness of people in photos paired either with neutral or altruistic traits. And the people associated with helping behaviors were deemed significantly more attractive especially as long-term partners than the neutral subjects. “Helping behaviours may be attractive because they signal ‘good genes’ and/or because they are perceived as a signal of likely provision of non-genetic benefits (e.g. parental care),” the study says. So if you’re looking to meet your match, some volunteer work might be a good place to start.

Hang out with friends

group of friends taking a selfie

Credit: jacoblund/Getty Images

Research has shown that people often appear more attractive when they’re hanging out in a group, rather than alone. And that’s possibly because our brains tend to take an average of all the facial features in the group, with any extreme features appearing more ordinary, according to a study published in the journal Psychological Science. The researchers had participants rate the attractiveness of people in photos appearing either in group settings or alone. And across the board the people in group shots received higher ratings.

It’s suggested that average features are attractive in a potential mate because they represent a more diverse gene pool, according to a study on human facial beauty. And we might subconsciously see that as a sign of better health and offspring. Still, regardless of whether you care about appearing attractive, you can’t go wrong hanging out in a group of good friends.

Don’t play games

Have you ever dated someone and felt like you were on two different wavelengths? Or maybe they tried so hard to play it cool that you never could tell how they really felt. There’s something to be said about people’s brains clicking or not when they’re searching for that perfect match. And one study on understanding and attraction attempted to explain just that.

“The degree to which a person feels attracted to another person can change while they observe the other’s affective behavior, and that these changes depend on the observer’s confidence in having correctly understood the other’s affective state,” according to the study. In other words, when you’re able to comprehend a person’s emotions and behaviors, it boosts your confidence and actually signals your brain’s reward system. In turn, that positive feeling makes the person seem more attractive to you. So if you’re trying to attract a partner, forget about playing games and just be yourself.

Wear red

The color red long has been linked to love and attraction even in nonhuman species. In certain animals, females are more attracted to males who display the most intense red coloration even if the red comes from a leg band or other artificial component, according to a study on how women view men. And in the human realm, red also has been linked to strength and status, dating back to ancient societies.

In the study, researchers conducted several experiments, showing participants photos of men with various colors of shirts and backgrounds. They found that heterosexual and bisexual women viewed the men in red shirts or in front of red backgrounds as more attractive even though they weren’t aware color was the focus of the study. Furthermore, a similar study found red also can work to make women appear more appealing, as heterosexual male participants perceived women in red as more sexually receptive and consequently more attractive.

Adopt a dog

woman walking her golden retriever puppy

Credit: LeoPatrizi/Getty Images

If you’re looking to get more positive attention from people, you might want to consider having a dog by your side. A survey between PetSmart and Match.com found 66 percent of single people wouldn’t date someone who didn’t like pets, 59 percent find someone who adopted an animal more attractive than someone who purchased one elsewhere and 70 percent say a date’s response to their pet is “important.” Plus, the survey learned that “72 percent of single women say that a dog is the ‘hottest pet a guy could own.’”

A study on dogs and social interaction apparently demonstrated just that. In one experiment, a male subject politely asked women on the street for their phone numbers, both when he was walking with and without a dog. When he was without the dog, only 9.2 percent of the women complied with his request versus the 28.3 percent who gave him their numbers when he was paired with the dog. The dog was a black medium-sized mixed breed, and the researchers did acknowledge that different dogs might elicit different reactions from people. Still, it seems like a lot of people are drawn to a person with a dog.

Stand up straight

Confidence can be sexy, and sometimes you don’t even have to speak to catch someone’s eye. A study on nonverbal displays and attraction found that people with “expansive body posture” (i.e., open arms and a straight torso) received higher attractiveness ratings than those in contractive positions (crossed arms, a curled-up body, etc.). “Expansiveness in humans signals perceived and sometimes actual status and access to resources,” according to the study. It also can show dominance, openness and the ability to successfully navigate social relationships.

“A mate possessing these qualities, whether male or female, would be desirable in part because he or she could share the benefits of these adaptive survival-based attributes (e.g., additional resources, respect from the in-group) with mates and offspring,” the study says. So the next time you go out on a date, carry yourself a little bit taller. If nothing else, your spine will love you for it.

Main image credit: PeopleImages/Getty Images

107 comments

heather g
heather gabout an hour ago

So red is it and I almost bought yellow today.
Yes, all attractive qualities....

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Toni W
Toni W2 hours ago

TYFS

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Toni W
Toni W2 hours ago

TYFS

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Ruth R
Ruth R14 hours ago

Thank you for sharing these good thoughts for making a good friend.

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Danny C
Danny C16 hours ago

Yikes! I only have one item of clothing that is red. :-) Thank you for sharing and have a great week.

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Leo C
Leo C18 hours ago

Thank you for sharing!

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danii p
danii pyesterday

TYFS

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danii p
danii pyesterday

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danii p
danii pyesterday

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Toni W
Toni W2 days ago

TYFS

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