Physical and mental attraction, shared passions and values, sexuality, a sentimental relationship is born from all this. Wrong. At least according to what was published by the researchers of the Department of Psychology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, led by the doctor Shir Atzil, are Scientific Report. According to them, the bond with the partner arises and depends on the ability to synchronize the bodies.
It has always been thought, in evolutionary terms, that the choice of mate was based on characteristics such as physical appearance, strength and fertility, all aimed at ensuring the survival of the offspring. The most recent theories, on the other hand, emphasize the importance of co-regulation during social interactions, that is, the coordination of physiology and behavior between partners. Today, in a partially changed scenario, the choice of the partner does not seem to be so reasoned: the initial attraction develops temporally during an interaction that sees many immediate reciprocal physiological and behavioral adaptations between two people.
What is physiological synchrony
Physiological synchrony has long been studied in mother and child attachment relationships, between which physiological processes occur such as heartbeat synchronization, cognitive, emotional and behavioral coordination, a combination that increases emotional bonding. The study authors researched this communication of the body within the couple.
The researchers looked at how a heterosexual couple’s physiology and behavior fit together during the first meeting. The study was based on a speed-date experiment consisting of forty-six appointments, each lasting five minutes, during which the physiological regulation levels of each partner with a band worn on the wrist were measured. Electrodermal activity, i.e. the continuous variation of the electrical characteristics of the skin, controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, which reflects the level of arousal and the orientation of attention, was recorded. The appointments were videotaped and automated video analysis conducted to extract the movement of each partner pixel by pixel, frame by frame, at a frequency of 10Hz. These are simple gestures, such as nodding, waving an arm, move or cross one leg.
After the meeting, the couple assessed the interest, physical appearance and sexual attraction they felt for each other. The results show that when participants synchronize their physiology and adapt their behavioral movements to each other during the date, they are romantically attracted. The data collected and the recorded images confirm this. So behavioral and physiological synchrony can be a useful mechanism for studying relationships and also for attracting a romantic partner. It is not yet clear, however, whether it is the synchrony that increases the attraction or the latter that generates greater synchronization. Studies continue in this direction.