The Mysteries of Attraction

It can show up as a spark or a lightning bolt; a glance or a touch; an easy rapport or butterflies in your stomach. Attraction — it’s a feeling we know when we experience it, but we’re often not sure exactly what fuels it. Is it about looks or personality? Psychology or chemistry? Instant fireworks or long-term compatibility?

On this episode, we explore the mysteries of attraction — what kindles it, what kills it, and why we’re often totally wrong about who we might be attracted to.

We talk with a leading attraction researcher about the factors that determine attraction, and why he often advises people to follow their gut. We find out what dating apps — and the massive amounts of data they gather — are teaching researchers about who we’re drawn to and why. And we hear the story of a couple whose mutual attraction changed over time — and why that turned out to be a good thing.


What drives attraction? Is it chemistry? Compatibility? Evolutionary fitness? Or something less tangible? We get answers to these and other questions from Paul Eastwick, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, where he runs the Attraction and Relationships Research Laboratory.
From the beginning, Art and Beau seemed like the ideal couple — they were attracted to each other, enjoyed spending time together, and quickly grew serious. Until their romance unexpectedly ended, because of something that Art wouldn’t discover for years. Producer Nichole Currie tells their story.

  • February 9, 2024
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