Do you have a crush on someone? Do you know what that means for your psychological state? Find out here some scientific, research-based psychological facts about crushes, love, and falling in love with someone you like.
A crush is an intense feeling of affection toward another person. Almost everyone has experienced a crush before, and most people will experience them in their lives at least once or twice.
People who are in love with someone they can’t be with may also experience crushes on other people as they struggle to cope with their feelings.
While it’s not uncommon to have a crush on someone, there are several factors that go into why we develop feelings for one person over another.
To understand why we feel things like envy, attraction, and even lust—we need to first understand how our brains work to form these types of associations between people and objects.
Recommended reading: Psychological facts about soulmates.
There are several factors that go into why we develop feelings for one person over another.
Psychologists have studied these and have come up with some interesting findings.
For example, it’s been found that when looking at someone who is attractive to us, our brains tend to process their images in a way that makes them appear even more attractive than they might be. This phenomenon is known as perceptual bias.
This occurs because our brains make inferences based on contextual information rather than reality itself.
We sometimes do that automatically so that we can move on quickly from things that aren’t important.
Take, for instance, how you probably don’t spend much time thinking about whether or not your shoelaces are tied.
You simply tie them once and walk away without giving it much thought—it would slow you down if you had to constantly verify if they were tied before moving forward.
People often exhibit what psychologists call positivity bias when forming new relationships with others. That means that we tend to ascribe more positive attributes to those around us than negative ones.
Some other interesting psychological facts related to attraction include how people of both s#xes usually favor mates who display high levels of symmetry in facial features, but there are certain kinds of asymmetry that women prefer over men (and vice versa).
What all of these various psychological quirks have in common is that they help people make snap judgments about whether someone is worth further consideration.
In many cases, however, humans rely too heavily on superficial characteristics like attractiveness instead of getting to know someone more deeply.
In other words, looks may win in terms of first impressions—but personality tends to win out long-term.
Here are some 25 more psychological facts about crushes and dreams that may help you know more about love and guide you to choose the right partner for a long-term relationship.
Read till the end to make use of the psychological research, share with your loved ones, and also reflect on them if each of the facts resonated with you.
25 Psychological facts about crushes
Psychological Fact 1: You’re most likely to have a crush on someone you actually know well and interact with regularly.
Dr. Sandra Langeslag. Professor of behavioral neuroscience at the University of Missouri, says, “Attraction helps humans bond and reproduce, but it’s infatuation and attachment that helps humans stay together.”
And also that people who live close together have a greater chance of forming romantic relationships.
For one, we know that two people have a greater chance of falling in love if they live close to each other and if they frequently see each other.
Psychological fact 2: Science says you’re more likely to have a crush on someone who looks like your parent.
A study in which Scottish researcher David Perrett of the University of St. Andrews found adults tend to be attracted to people who remind them of their opposite-s#x parent.
Specifically, men are most attracted to women who look like their mothers, while women are most attracted to men who look like their fathers.
This may have something to do with our brain’s desire for familiarity; by looking for partners who look like those we were exposed to when we were young, it makes us feel safer.
Psychological Fact 3: The process of falling in love does not have a set number of days.
Love cannot be defined by a specific number of days. Even experts can’t predict exactly when these things will happen. (Source.)
There isn’t a set amount of days, years, seasons, or years to fall in love. This is a rare point where scientists of different disciplines agree.
“We want a straightforward answer, but the reality is more complex than that. Depending on the people, the context, and the way the two of them meet, I think it differs,” says Professor Saeideh Heshmati, a positive development psychologist.
Psychological Fact 4: Love at first sight does exist simply because people report that it exists.
Love at first is something that is not easy to measure. For some people, falling in love only happens once in a lifetime.
Other people fall in love with someone different every week, while others fall in love a million times. Everyone falls in love differently, whether they fall in love frequently, or whether they fall in love at all,” Says, Dr. Sandra Langeslag.
Researchers from the University of Chicago examined the phenomenon of love at first sight in 2014. The researchers tracked participants’ eye movements as a range of images was shown to them.
The scientists were able to differentiate eye patterns linked to lust and romantic love. However, they were unable to pinpoint the exact cause of the phenomenon.
Psychological Fact 5: Men and women with similar personalities are more likely to have crushes on each other.
Researchers at The University of Montreal and Concordia University found that not only do we seek out people who remind us of ourselves, but we are more likely to have a crush on someone who has things in common with us.
If you’re looking for a relationship, having similar personality traits can do wonders for your odds of finding love.
According to another study, people are more likely to date others who share their personalities, values, morals, and qualities. And why is that?
Basically, we find other people attractive when they remind us of ourselves – and vice versa. In fact, if you think about it for a minute – it kind of makes sense.
Why else would we look at our romantic partner and see glimpses of ourselves? We want them to fit into our lives seamlessly – so having similarities only helps that cause.
Psychological Fact 6: People with different-colored eyes are more likely to be attracted to each other.
The University of Vienna conducted a study that found people with different-colored eyes are more likely to be attracted to each other than people with same-colored eyes.
They also discovered that you’re more likely to have a crush on someone who has bigger (aka, divergent) pupils.
These patterns could be due to genetic factors; evolutionary biologists believe we are drawn to people with genes that would offer their offspring higher levels of fertility and immune system functioning.
Hence, they’d make great potential partners. But if you’re looking for love – forget it.
You’re not going to find what you want when your heart is set on finding specific traits in a potential partner – even if those traits may actually benefit your future offspring.
In fact, studies show opposites attract, and birds of a feather flock together.
Psychological Fact 7: Men are most attracted to women who exude a blend of femininity and strength. Women, on the other hand, are most attracted to men who display high levels of masculinity.
This study was conducted by researchers at Chapman University and published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.
They found that men were most attracted to women who exuded a blend of femininity and strength, while women were most attracted to men who displayed high levels of masculinity.
The key is balance, though – if you’re too feminine or too masculine, you might turn people off instead of reeling them in. Also, check out these tactics for how to talk like a man and how to talk like a woman.
Psychological Fact 8: You are most likely to crush on a friend or coworker.
According to a study from The University of California in Los Angeles, more than 70 percent of people between ages 18 and 35 have reported having romantic feelings for someone at work.
This could be due to some very logical reasons; perhaps you spend so much time with them that your heart starts longing for their love? Who knows?
Bottom line is that friendships are really important – not only when it comes to your own personal happiness, but when it comes to attracting a partner as well.
Psychological Fact 9: You can tell whether someone likes you within just seven seconds of meeting them.
A study from Stony Brook University in New York found that people could tell whether someone liked them within just seven seconds of meeting them – and it had nothing to do with physical attraction.
They also determined that we like a person more when they smile at us – so, when you’re looking for love, make sure you don’t forget to flash a grin here and there.
But don’t overdo it; more than half of Americans admit they are turned off by overeager daters who try too hard.
Psychological Fact 10: Your sense of smell plays a huge role in love. The smell is tied very closely to memory.
This means we tend to be most attracted to people who remind us of something we already love, like our favorite perfume or cologne.
And when you think about it, it makes perfect sense: Our sense of smell is closely tied to our limbic system – aka, that emotional brain that controls things like memory and reward-seeking behavior.
So if someone reminds you of your favorite scent, your brain might automatically associate them with a positive experience (and all those positive feelings). This could lead to feelings of attraction.
Psychological Fact 11: Your interests can say a lot about your compatibility with someone.
It’s been said that opposites attract – but when it comes to attracting someone, you might be better off being similar than dissimilar.
One study found that couples had more similarities in their personalities and interests than they did differences – and were generally happier as a result.
The takeaway? Someone who shares your love of coffee is probably a keeper! The theory here is simple: If you’re compatible with them in one area, there’s a good chance you’ll be compatible in other areas too.
Psychological Fact 12: If they don’t smile back, it’s probably not a crush.
According to research published in The Journal of Social Psychology, there are two things you can do to boost your chances of romance with someone you have a crush on.
First, they should show that they’re interested; and second, they should smile when you flirt. So how will you know if someone’s into you? Look for eye contact.
Researchers say that 93 percent of us will look into each other’s eyes within five minutes of meeting each other – so it’s usually pretty obvious whether or not someone likes what they see.
Psychological Fact 13: Your crush probably thinks you’re more attractive than you think you are.
If there’s one thing we know, it’s that we’re not as objective when it comes to our own looks as we think we are.
Research from UCLA showed that we have a tendency to overestimate how attractive others see us – but we tend to underestimate how attractive others think we actually are.
So if you’ve been feeling down about your appearance, try focusing on all those things you love about yourself and remember: Not only do you look good in your crush’s eyes; you also look good in your own! What more could you ask for?
Psychological Fact 14: You can detect someone’s intentions by looking at their eyes.
Sometimes when we see someone we like, our first instinct is to turn away – but don’t be shy.
A study from Stony Brook University found that people who looked at each other for a long time were more likely to feel an attraction than those who didn’t.
Plus, as a bonus, people tend to see others as more attractive when they look directly into their eyes. So make sure you lock eyes with your crush and let them know you’re interested.
Psychological Fact 15: Flirting makes you happier.
Studies have shown that getting flirtatious can increase feelings of self-confidence and happiness while reducing anxiety and depression.
So if you think your crush could be onto something good, it might be worth giving flirting a try. When in doubt, try using our foolproof rules for flirting like a pro.
But remember: Flirting is just one component of dating; there are plenty more things to consider before taking things to another level (like making sure they’re not still hung up on their ex).
So proceed with caution and make sure you know what you’re looking for before making any moves.
Psychological Fact 16: Your online profile pictures play a crucial role in attracting a crush or having a crush on someone.
It’s been said that 80 percent of first impressions are based on our looks – so if you’re looking to attract someone new, it’s important to make sure your photos are top-notch.
In fact, researchers from York University found that profile photos were more important than a person’s body language or verbal communication when it came to determining their likability.
Remember: Pictures can be deceptive; try to use a flattering angle and shoot in natural light for best results (and try not to look like a deer caught in headlights!). Also remember: No one is perfect; don’t stress out over every blemish and flaw.
Psychological Fact 17: It’s best to ask a crush out in person.
According to research published in The Journal of Social Psychology, people can determine their level of romantic interest after viewing you interact with another person.
Specifically, researchers found that when women asked men out on a date, they tended to use shorter sentences and avoid eye contact more than those who were asked out by men.
So if you want to put your best foot forward, it might be best to ask them out face-to-face.
What have we learned? That there’s no better way to get over a crush than knowing what goes on inside their head.
If you’re still having trouble moving on from someone special, remember: It’s okay – we all go through heartbreak at some point or another.
Psychological Fact 18: People who use emojis in their texts are perceived as more likable.
In a recent study published in Computers in Human Behavior, researchers found that people with emoji-only text conversations were perceived as more friendly, competent, and trustworthy than those without them.
So when you’re feeling anxious around your crush, remember: A simple emoji smiley face could be all you need to show them how you feel.
In other words, trust your instincts and go for it! You never know what could happen until you try – especially if your crush is super cute.
Psychological Fact 19: We are more attracted to people who make us laugh.
A study published in Science found that people are drawn to individuals with a good sense of humor – particularly when it comes to long-term relationships.
So if you’re looking for your soulmate, remember: Nothing’s more attractive than someone who can make you laugh (and smile!). If you’re still feeling nervous, remember: There’s no need to be perfect.
As we’ve learned, most people prefer authenticity over pretense any day of the week. In other words, don’t hide those quirks; bring them out in the open and have fun.
Perhaps one of our favorite findings has been that people overwhelmingly like their partners because they’re easy to get along with; not only do they share similar interests and hobbies, but they also enjoy each other’s company. In other words:
The best way to attract someone is by spending time together doing what you love.
Psychological Fact 20: If you’re looking to get over a crush, it’s best to have a rebound.
It’s no secret that we often find ourselves attracted to people who remind us of our exes. So if you’re trying to get over someone, it might be time for a rebound.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to jump into bed with them – a simple coffee date can do wonders. What’s important is that you invest your energy in someone new, rather than spend all your time replaying old scenarios and dwelling on past mistakes.
With some luck, they’ll even help you realize what went wrong in your previous relationship so you don’t repeat the same mistakes.
So don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself; go out there and put yourself out there.
Perhaps one of our favorite findings has been that most couples say they chose their partners because they reminded them of someone else; not only did these individuals share similarities (both physical and personality), but they also brought something new to their lives.
Psychological Fact 21: A simple compliment can go a long way.
If you’re looking to attract someone, remember: Compliments are your secret weapon. A recent study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly found that men tended to give more compliments when attracted to someone.
So if you’ve got an upcoming first date or just want to break the ice with a coworker or classmate, all it takes is a simple compliment, and – as they say –the rest is history. In other words: Flattery will get you everywhere.
Psychological Fact 22: If you want to get someone’s attention, be their shoulder to cry on.
If you’re looking for love, remember: Often it’s not what you say that matters most; it’s what you do.
So if you want to catch someone’s eye (or simply get them to like you), try offering a helping hand! A recent study found that when people show empathy and help others in need, they end up with more friends – especially men.
So if your crush is upset or sad, there’s no better way to win their heart than by showing them how much they mean to you.
Psychological Fact 23: If you want to make an impression, stand out from your competition.
If you’re looking for love, remember: While first impressions are important, it’s often not what you say but how you say it that matters most.
So rather than spend all your time trying to think of something clever to say on a date, try putting more energy into your appearance.
A recent study found that people perceived those who stood out from their competition as more attractive and interesting – even if they weren’t as good-looking or didn’t make as much money.
Psychological Fact 24: You can’t force attraction. When it comes to love, sometimes you just have to let nature take its course.
So if you’re looking for a life partner, don’t waste your time trying to attract anyone who isn’t interested in you; instead, focus on building healthy relationships with those who already like and appreciate you.
We all know that life is a marathon – not a sprint – so don’t rush into things or settle for someone who doesn’t treat you right. You deserve better!
Psychological Fact 25: Having high self-esteem can make you more attractive.
If you’re looking for love, remember: Even if they don’t always say it out loud, people are usually attracted to those who believe in themselves and aren’t afraid to express their opinions.
So keep an open mind when dating and try not to be so critical of yourself! Also, let your date do most of the talking on a first date – after all, that’s why it’s called getting to know each other.