Looking for a Friend? Check Out the Legs. A Romantic Partner? Take a Gander at the Head

How weird is this?  Depending on whether someone wants to have a romantic relationship with you, or just a friendship, it all has to do with one part of the body rather than another.

No, I'm not talking about those parts.

According to a new study, heterosexual men and women look at the head or chest of an opposite-sex person longer and more often when evaluating dating potential, compared with possible friendship. 

But both men and women look at legs or feet with greater frequency when they made platonic rather than sexual judgments, newswise.com reports.

While -- here comes the boring part -- we've always thought that attraction hinges on a fixed set of characteristics that makes a person desirable, this new study shows that what people look for in a prospective relationship partner depends on their "relational" goals.

And here it comes, the big finale.  "The same person who makes a highly desirable friend may not make a good mate,” says Angela Bahns, the study's coauthor and an assistant professor of psychology at Wellesley.

The study began by asking where do your eyes linger when judging a person for potential friendship? Do they look someplace else if you are thinking of asking someone on a date? This study, co-authored by researchers at Wellesley and the University of Kansas, shows that people scan the body differently, depending on whether someone is judged as a potential friend or prospective romantic partner.

Another big finding: single women in particular looked more at a potential romantic partner than women already in a relationship looked at their mates. And looking at the center of the body—legs, waist, hips, or chest—indicated greater interest for both romance and friendship. Women who looked at the head longer and more often were especially interested in friendship. Legs and feet were the least observed regions overall.

So what does all this mean?  I guess, that we look at people differently when we're searching for a friend rather than a lover.


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