As matchmakers, we are asked constantly “how” we make our matches. Is it through some elusive scientific method? A personality test? Intuition? All of the above?
The truth is, matchmaking is an amalgam of all of these. There is in fact a science involved, a kind of personality “test” (our method being to meet everyone in person to determine that) and of course, a natural born gift for the art of making love…happen. Sometimes however, responding with the latter doesn’t always appease logical people – the intellectuals – who need more statistical data with regard to what makes relationships works on a chemical, cellular level. So, we got the results…scientifically speaking.
A February 1, 2014 article on psychcentral.com titled “The Science of Love Matchmaking” explains how chemistry and romantic connection work physiologically, biologically and psychologically. Perhaps this information combined with a matchmaker’s experience and intuition, can create a better formula for long-term success.
Is Beauty Actually Skin Deep After All?
According to the matching hypothesis first proposed by social psychologist, Elaine Hatfield, people are more likely to form and succeed in a committed relationship with someone who is equally socially desirable. This is often researched in the form of physical attraction.
A study on 123 dating couples at UCLA found that good physical matches may be conducive to good relationships. The study reported that partners most similar in physical attractiveness were found to rate themselves happier and report deeper feelings of love.
The study also supported that some, especially men, view relationships as a marketplace. If the partnership is weak, an individual may devalue it if they have many friends of the opposite sex who are more attractive. They may look at the situation as having more options present that are more appealing. At the same time, if the relationship is strong, they may value the relationship more because they are passing up on these opportunities in order to remain in the relationship.
Garcia and Khersonsky, also social psychologists, studied this effect and how others view matching and non-matching couples. Results showed that the attractive couple was rated as currently more satisfied than the non-matching couple, where the male was more attractive than the female. Additionally, the unattractive male was rated as more satisfied (currently and marital) than the attractive female in the non-matching couple. The attractive woman was also rated as more satisfied (currently and marital) in the attractive couple.
What Aesthetics Don’t Tell Us
Researchers also uncovered that “something” we just can’t put our finger on: body odor. This is largely determined by the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC), a cluster of genes which make up part of our immune system. Scientific research has shown that we subconsciously detect the MHC genes of others through taste and smell, which instinctually help us choose a match.
Couples in long-term relationships were found to have MHC genes that are very different from their partner’s. This is termed “biological compatibility.” When women were asked to smell shirts worn by men and rank them, they consistently ranked men with MHC genes unlike to their own as more attractive.
Dissimilar MHC genes also influence whether a man sees a woman’s face as attractive or not. In fact, there is convincing evidence that biologically compatible partners not only find each other more attractive, but have more satisfying sex lives, increased fertility rates and produce children with stronger immune systems.
There are supposedly tests available now through various companies that a couple can take to test their genetic compatibility, but nothing has been proven as to their effectiveness.
Hopefully these findings shed some light on the way we “work:” our matchmaking skills and how we know through scientific research that physical, chemical and intellectual compatibility all have to be considered to push the odds in our clients’ favors in finding them their soul mates.