You know the drill. You lock eyes with a stranger, strike up a convo and live happily ever after. Yup, the “love at first sight” stuff sure sounds romantic, but turns out it’s nothing but an old Hollywood trope.
A new study from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands has delved deep into the science behind the phenomenon.
Their conclusion? Those warm and fuzzies you get when you land your peepers on that person have more to do with lust than love.
Via an online survey, researchers quizzed 396 participants about their relationship status. They were then shown pictures of a selection of strangers, rating their attraction to them and observing any feelings of intimacy, passion, commitment, sexual desire and love at first sight. Two other tests involving speed dating were also carried out.
Of the sample, 32 participants (mostly men) reported 49 instances of love at first sight. However, it was found this was strongly linked to physical attraction and none of the feelings were mutual.
“To conclude, our findings suggest that love at first sight reported at actual first sight resembles neither passionate love nor love more generally,” the researchers said.
Instead, “it’s a strong initial attraction that some label as ‘love at first sight’ – either retrospectively or in the moment of first sight.”