According to an annual “Singles in America” survey of more than 5,000 singles ages 21 to 70-plus, sponsored by the dating site Match.com, 59% of men and 49% of women in 2014 said they believe in love at first sight, and 41% of men and 29% of women say they have experienced it.
The survey and numerous psychological studies have found men fall in love faster than women, says Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist and New York City-based senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction.
Like the sex drive, romantic love can be triggered immediately—which may explain the metaphor of “falling” in love, which implies something quick and unintentional. All mammals experience a form of romantic love, Dr. Fisher says. “It’s an adaptive mechanism for attraction and to start the mating process quickly,” she says.
Typically, three factors are present when you fall in love, studies have found: You have to like the other person’s physical appearance; you have to find his or her personality desirable, and you have to feel the other person likes you, says Arthur Aron, research professor at Stony Brook University in New York and a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies love.