Culture and Society

Does love at first sight exist?
Answered by Science Channel
  • Science Channel

    Science Channel

  1. You may have dreamed of gazing across a crowded room, locking eyes with an attractive stranger and knowing instantly that you're in love. While it does seem to work out for some, others scoff at the idea of love at first sight. Believe it or not, scientists have studied the subject, and some attribute the need to size people up quickly to early humans. Since they lived shorter lives, they had less time to get to know and approve of their mates. Anthropologist and love researcher Helen Fisher believes that our brains are still wired to make these decisions quickly, and people only need three minutes to know whether or not someone is the right choice for a mate. She suggests that if you feel a quick connection, you should go for it [source: Fisher].

    Others believe in the power of the first few minutes, as well. In fact, the philosophy behind speed dating is not just to save time for busy people. Scientists have been researching the whole concept of love, and in a study carried out by Ohio State University, it was discovered that within the first two minutes of meeting someone, both people could tell if they had an interest in furthering the relationship. In addition, after a period of nine weeks, the way the relationship actually turned out was pretty close to how the participants thought it would when they met. People can make up their minds about love when they first meet, but they have to work at the relationship, or they might find themselves falling out of love as fast as they fell into it.

    While many believe in first impressions, though, it appears that most relationships start out differently: In one survey of 493 participants, only 11 percent responded that their long-term relationships had started out in a love-at-first-sight situation [source: Malach-Pines].

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