Michio Kaku
Professor of Theoretical Physics, CUNY
02:01

Why We're Attracted

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"There’s a reason why we are attracted to certain people," says Michio Kaku. Evolution has slowed down, but it hasn't stopped.

Michio Kaku

Michio Kaku is a futurist, popularizer of science, and theoretical physicist, as well as a bestselling author and the host of two radio programs. He is the co-founder of string field theory (a branch of string theory), and continues Einstein’s search to unite the four fundamental forces of nature into one unified theory. He holds the Henry Semat Chair and Professorship in theoretical physics and a joint appointment at City College of New York and the Graduate Center of C.U.N.Y. He is also a visiting professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Kaku launched his Big Think blog, "Dr. Kaku's Universe," in March 2010.

Transcript

Michio KakuWe have today jet travel.  We have today the fact that almost anyone can have children.  We have the situation today - because of prosperity and because of industrial revolution, because of international travel - that there’s mixing of the genes, which means that the gross evolution of the entire species itself has probably slowed down.  But does that mean that evolution has stopped?  No.  People still prefer other people who are healthy.  This means that we are evolving toward becoming healthier and healthier people.

There’s a reason why we are attracted to certain people of the opposite sex.  According to evolutionary psychology, what we want is healthy mates.  Beauty, for example, is a way in which we have of judging the health of another person.  The theory says, for example, that if you are at a bar on Friday night and you want to “pick up” somebody rapidly, you can’t do a blood test.  You can’t do a physical examination to find out how healthy that person is, so you need markers.  According to evolutionary psychology, the markers are for estrogen and testosterone - shown in the body by beauty and physical health.  For example, estrogen has estrogen markers: large eyes, small chin and thick lips. Same thing with testosterone: testosterone makes large necks and strong jaws and a lower voice. That also means the person is fit; the person is healthy. These are markers that we use.

So the point I’m raising is that evolution on a one-to-one basis is constantly taking place because we constantly prefer people who have a better immune system, people who are physically fit - masquerading as what we call "handsome" and "pretty."  

Directed & Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd

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