The Psychology of Attraction (Infographic)

Posted by | Category: Iconic Displays

At Iconic Displays, we’re in the business of creating attention-grabbing displays for trade show marketers. So we’ve always been really fascinated by what we (humans) find eye-catching. Is it certain colors, specific shapes, symmetry, how things are organized or arranged that we find attractive and appealing. Turns out, it’s all of the above, and the human eye is consistently drawn to the same types of traits, characteristics and aesthetic values.


We wanted to learn more about what we do (and don’t) find attractive, so we rolled up our sleeves, compiled data and research, and put together this infographic called “The Psychology of Attraction.” If you like it, please share it with others. You also can add the infographic on your website using the HTML code below. We ask that you credit us, Iconic Displays the leader in trade show displays, as the source.




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Full Infographic Text Transcription:

Title: ATTENTION! – Psychology of Attraction

What do we consider eye-catching?




How do we capture attention?

Factors like symmetry, colors and shapes are all attractive to the human eye.


  • Plato wrote this on his theory of “golden proportions”
    • The width of an ideal face would be 2/3s its length
    • A nose would be no longer than the distance between the eyes
  • Science has proven that symmetry is inherently attractive to the human eye
    • This is defined as similarity between the left and right sides, rather than Plato’s Theory of Proportions
  • Babies will spend more time staring at a photo of a symmetrical person than one who is asymmetrical
  • Victor Johnston of New Mexico State University uses a program called FacePrints
    • He shows facial images of varying attractiveness to viewers who rate the pictures for beauty on a scale of 1-9
    • Pictures with the best ratings are merged together and lower ratings are taken out
    • The trial ends when the viewer narrows down the selection to a perfect 10
      • The perfect 10 is always highly symmetric
  • Symmetry as a preference is a trait seen in many different animals
    • Ex. Female swallows prefer males with longer, more symmetrical tails
  • Scientists believe that symmetry reflects a strong immune system
    • Therefore, beauty and symmetry indicate robust genes

Attraction is also based on non-physical attributes

  • One study was taken of college students rating their professor’s physical attractiveness
    • 70% deemed him as physically attractive when he behaved in a friendly manner
    • 30% found him attractive when he was cold and distant
  • In society, people who are popular, successful and intelligent tend to be more attractive


Human reactions to color

  • Red
    • Evokes feelings of fear, anger and passion
    • The mood of red changes dramatically when lightened or darkened
  • Blue
    • Calms the emotions; lowers blood pressure
    • Blue is associated with loyalty and trustworthiness
  • Green
    • Refreshing and relaxing
    • Closely related to nature and growth
  • Yellow
    • Can bring feelings of joy or convey sickliness
    • Yellow is inviting and can create an open atmosphere
  • Black
    • Denotes authority and power
    • Can convey sophistication or villainy


The Effects of Shapes

  • Circle
    • Connectedness, wholeness, movement, protection, family
    • Femininity, warmth, comfort, sensuality, love
  • Rectangle/Square
    • Logic, order, containment, security
  • Triangle
    • Energy, balance, science, religion, power
    • Masculinity, aggression, strength


What Do We Find Unattractive?

Repugnance is an evolutionary defense mechanism

  • As we realize the nature of a potentially lethal substance, our auto response is disgust
  • This is the reason for near-universal repugnance at things that are putrid or oozy
  • Most things found to be extremely unattractive would cause harm if ingested or touched


  • Lack of balance can be an automatic turn-off
    • Tends to be visually unappealing
  • Asymmetry also affects behavior and reactions
    • Someone changing lanes in traffic is an example of asymmetry which can cause quick and aggressive reactions

Clashing colors:

  • Combinations that follow the natural brightness of colors are generally appealing
  • Combinations that contradict natural brightness are generally unappealing
  • Colors that clash:
    • They aren’t adjacent on the color wheel
    • They aren’t opposites
    • They are similar in prominence and fighting for attention


(call out) Beauty is in the eye of the beholder