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Your Intro to Psychology course you take your freshman year may not be the first place you normally go for dating advice. Here’s a secret though—you can use some of what you learn in class towards your advantage on the dating scene. There are reasons you fall for certain people (besides their cuteness), and once you understand the rules of attraction, you’ll be the master of making guys fall for you.

Syracuse University’s Human Sexuality and Love, Lust, and Relationship professor, Dr. Joe Fanelli says, “Initially, it’s about an attraction to someone. Then, for an interest in dating them, there has to be that desire to make a connection.”

Her Campus is here to help you make that connection. Here are some of the secrets behind the science of attraction, and how to use them to make him fall for you.

1. Use your body language.

Usually, but not always, physical attraction is the instigator for a conversation or that first introduction. It may not be love at first sight, but more likely attraction at first sight.

For example, we like the fit, healthy bodies of those Calvin Klein underwear models because “attractiveness may [unconsciously] provide a clue to health and reproductive fitness,” Fanelli says.

The hottie’s abs and chiseled chest are essentially saying, “I’d give good genes to our babies.” Just what you wanted to know on your first date, right?

Other physical attraction cues may not be so obvious.

“When it comes to chemistry, there are certain people we are drawn to because of pheromones,” Fanelli says. “These may be triggers that signal ‘my DNA is different than your DNA’.”

The pheromones (our natural ‘scent’) aren’t conscious to us, but they may be a reason that initial attraction turns into wanting something more.

Before you even say a word to him, signal your interest with subtle, non-verbal clues using your body language.

How to make it work:

According to Love Signals: A Practical Field Guide to the Body Language of Courtship, we naturally blink faster when we are emotionally excited. Bat those eyelashes to let him know you’re interested without saying a word. People also, “lean toward whatever – or whomever – they find most important at the time,” according to Love Signals. Use this trick and slightly lean towards him, whether it’s in your chair in class, or while standing at the bar.

2. Be a copycat.

According to Fanelli, similarity to a person is another important factor in attraction. We like people who are similar to ourselves. It’s that butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling you get when the more you talk with someone, the more you find out you have in common.

“These matches may be conscious, for example, two athletes, or people with similar extracurricular interests, or unconscious, like finding out you enjoy the same music,” Fanelli says.

If you’re meeting him for the first time, use the “chameleon effect” from Love Signals: mirroring movements and gestures show you’re interested. In one study from The Journal of Nonhuman Behavior, researchers found that it’s not just mimicking of movements that indicate interest, but also timing.  If he moves from slouching to sitting up straight, a few seconds later do the same.

How to make it work:

To use mimicking, take a sip of your drink when he does, copy the way his hands are resting on the table, or pick up on his words or phrases and repeat them later in the conversation. Remember the timing aspect as well: try to copy his movements sooner rather than later, or it won’t come across as “synchronized.”  But don’t make it too obvious!

Similarity, in terms of personality, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be mirror images of each other (in fact, that might get a little boring). The important thing here is being open to each other’s interests.  If he likes hockey, watch a game with him at least once or twice. If he’s a country music guy, and you can’t get enough hip-hop, well, at least you can both appreciate a strong love for music.

3. Keep him close by.

You see him once and think he’s cute. See him twice, and you smile at each other. See him a third time, and you’ll want to say hi. This is the basic idea behind the attraction theory of proximity.

“We like familiarity,” Fanelli says. “If you’re attracted to something, the more often you see it, the more attracted you’ll become.”

In one study of a 320-person dormitory, students evaluated their ‘liking’ of peers. The study found that students liked better those who were near them physically (closer on floors, or had rooms nearby). Dormcest ring a bell?

How to make it work:

Similarity may also play a role here. Wherever you meet him, the gym, the library, or class, if you both frequent the same spots, you’re likely to run into each other again. This also means, if you hit it off one night, make sure to let him know you want to hang out again, since, (now we know!) the more you see each other, the more likely you are to fall for him, and him for you! But, please don’t stalk him.

Related: How to Slow Things Down If You Think Your Relationship Is Moving Too Fast

4. Spill the beans.

Revealing things about who you are can help raise your attractiveness. It creates a closeness to that person and lets him feel closer to you.

A study published by the American Sociological Association found that “bestowing secrets upon a certain someone straightforwardly implies trust and a willingness to strike up a relationship,” and that withholding information about yourself “implies just the reverse.”

“Self-disclosure is really an important part of the process of intimacy,” Fanelli says. “This might be telling how many siblings you have, that you come from a small town, or that you like jazz music,” he says. “You have to learn to trust the person before you can move to deeper levels of self-disclosure.”

These deeper levels may be telling him your goals in life or what makes you who you are. But, “revealing too much too soon can also be a distancing move,” Fanelli says. Be careful not to scare him off by telling him your life story on day one.

How to make it work:

On the first meeting, tell him about yourself first. As Fanelli suggested, start by sharing the more basic things: your likes, dislikes, where you’re from. The casual, “what year are you? What’s your major?” lines always get the ball rolling as well. Then let him do the same – disclosure should always come from both sides! The more that you share, the closer he’ll feel to you and the more he’ll be willing to share. As the relationship continues, discuss more serious, big-picture topics. 

5. Get his adrenaline pumping.

If you want to make him fall for you, take him on a roller coaster. It may not be that simple, but Fanelli says adrenaline is sometimes misattributed to arousal.

“Excitement generates a level of attractiveness,” Fanelli says. “People who experience similar arousal find each other more attractive.”

Fanelli says you don’t need to go on a bungee-jumping date to make this happen though. “Any experience that generates excitement can be arousing.”

In one study, for example, males interacted with females on either a high-suspension bridge or on level ground. They were more sexually aroused by the females on the bridge, indicating that they misattributed the feelings of physical arousal being on the high bridge, with an attraction to the female.

“People who experience similar arousal find each other more attractive,” Fanelli explains.

How to make it work:

It could be as simple as a competitive board game, Fanelli says, or a pick-up game of basketball. “Watching a scary movie could even be arousing and enhance levels of attraction,” he adds. Do things that are exciting. Take a run together, play Monopoly, or watch a thriller like Black Swan or Source Code.

Related: 4 Ways To Know If You Should Be More Than Friends With Benefits

6. Make him a cuddle fan.

When you first fall for him, he’s usually all you can think about. Fanelli says this is part of the early ‘lust’ experience of attraction.

“It’s the release of dopamine and endorphins in your brain,” he says. “It’s a cocaine-kind of rush – part of a chemical reaction.”

This gives us almost an obsession with the other person, where you’re always thinking about them, and wishing to be with them. This chemical rush can’t last for long, though.

How to make it work:

“After about two months, other reactions take place,” Fanelli says. These are less lust-based and more comfort-based. Cuddling is one way to keep the chemicals flowing, which Fanelli says, makes you feel warm in the closeness of that other person. The chemical oxytocin is released during cuddling, which brings feelings of attraction. Pop in a movie and get your cuddle on!

7. Fanelli’s attraction formula: Find your own happiness.

Fanelli says that ultimately, attraction comes down to the fact that interesting people are interesting to be with.

“Rather than spending your time trying to lure him in, remember that people who are comfortable with themselves are interesting because they’re doing things that make them happy,” he says, “and that’s very attractive.”

When you’re doing something that ‘turns you on’ (whether it’s playing music or playing sports), “that is a turn on to other people,” Fanelli says.

Before you worry about attracting him, make sure you find yourself attractive. “Be yourself, and do things that make you happy,” Fanelli says.

Dr. Joe Fanelli, Love, Lust, and Relationships professor, Syracuse University
Some Evidence for Heightened Sexual Attraction Under Conditions of High Anxiety
Love Signals: A Practical Field Guide to the Body Language of Courtship
Proximity and Peership: Bases of Balance in Interpersonal Attraction
The Courtship Dance: Patterns of Nonverbal Synchronization in Opposite-Sex Encounters
Personalistic Self-Disclosure and Attraction: Basis for Relationship or Scare Resource

Heather is a 2012 graduate of Syracuse University's Newhouse School with a degree in Magazine Journalism. Growing up in southern Vermont, she learned to appreciate the New England small-town life. During her time at SU she served as Editor-in-Chief of What the Health magazine on her college campus and was a member of the Syracuse chapter of ED2010. This summer Heather is exploring the world of digital entrepreneurship at the Tech Garden in Syracuse, NY where she is Co-Founder of Scrapsule.com. Aside from social media and home decor, she loves vintage jewelry, strawberry banana smoothies, running, and autumn in Vermont.