The phenomenon of love at first sight has long fascinated people and is the central theme of a new Netflix film.
A huge hit with audiences, “Love at First Sight” tells the story of a man and a woman who fall head over heels in love after meeting at an airport. He studies statistics at Yale University and the film deals with the likelihood of love at first sight.
The chances of sparks flying so quickly on screen are good, as the history of romantic comedies shows, but how often does something like this happen in real life?
These moments can come unexpectedly, explains Cleveland Clinic psychologist Susan Albers. She adds, “It’s very easy to get lost in the intensity of the experience.”
We examine what experts say about the idea of love at first sight, what the chances of it happening are, and how real the phenomenon is outside of Hollywood.
Ben Hardy and Haley Lu Richardson portray Oliver and Hadley in the hit Netflix film Love at First Sight, which debuted at number one upon its release on September 15th
What are the chances of love at first sight?
Some may think it’s romantic to the point of delusion to hope to fall in love at first sight, but fairytale first encounters are apparently anything but rare.
Dr. Albers told CBS, “Over 60 percent of people say they have felt love at first sight at some point in their lives.”
“However, infatuation and attraction might be a more accurate term to describe this phenomenon.”
What is the science behind love at first sight?
It is believed that increasing levels of “happy hormones” such as oxytocin and dopamine play an important role, and love activates the prefrontal cortex part of the brain.
“Our prefrontal cortex makes many quick decisions throughout the day with minimal information, and acknowledging love at first sight is one of those decisions,” says Dr. Albers.
“You see someone and within seconds you know if you are attracted to them.”
The sex hormones testosterone and estrogen play a key role in initial physical attraction, which is vital in these early moments.
Dr. Helen Fischer of Rutgers University believes that love can be divided into lust, attraction and attachment
What causes love at first sight?
“All it takes is a look, a smile, a smell,” wrote Marriage.com expert Rachael Pace.
It could be how someone looks, their body language, their clothes, their smell, their language, or any of those hard-to-explain factors that just make you feel drawn to them.
Dr. Helen Fischer of Rutgers University breaks down love into three components: lust, attraction and commitment.
Lust is driven by the desire for sexual satisfaction, attraction involves high levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, and attachment refers to a long-term commitment, she says Harvard said Science in the news in 2017.
Research from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem shows how important physical harmony is between two people during a date.
“The bond with a partner depends on how well we can synchronize our bodies,” wrote author Dr. Shir Atzil.
“The study showed that within two minutes of the start of the date, physiological synchrony predicts romantic interest.”
Studies have shown that more men than women seem to believe in love at first sight, and while it takes men 88 days to fall in love, it can take up to 134 days for women
“Love at First Sight” is one of Netflix’s most-watched films
Who believes in love at first sight?
Rachael Pace cited a survey by Elite Singles showing that 72 percent of men believe in love at first sight, while only 61 percent of women do.
In 2013, Veronica Hefner and Barbara J Wilson surveyed 335 college students to find out how their opinions changed after watching romantic comedies.
The results of this study confirm what many suspect: that people who watch romantic comedies are more likely to have romantic ideals and are more likely to fall in love quickly.
It is often considered foolish to pin your hopes on an initial spark, and many experts warn of the dangers of confusing love with lust or infatuation.
Instant chemistry isn’t necessarily a good indicator of relationship prospects, but it’s not always a warning sign either.
Some experts believe that mutual openness to the idea of falling in love quickly can help these more romantic couples form a close bond and tell a compelling story that brings them closer together.
Here’s how you can keep watching these romantic comedies without ruining your love life.