Thanks to genetics and neuroscience, new generation dating applications could calculate the degree of attraction between two strangers. Could we speak of the prescience of love ?

Could we know in advance if two strangers will like each other ?

Candidates for love with the beautiful days that are looming will be legions in profiles on the web. Yes, one more reason to turn to dating sites! And even more during a period of confinement where you cannot sit on a café terrace !

This superpower is more than ever desired. And now Anglo-Saxon companies boast of having finally found the solution to predict without fail if two people will match.

They are called Digid8, DNA Romance, Pheramor or Instant Chemistry, names that evoke the chemical industry more than the emotional market.

Normal: these recent dating applications now offer to anticipate the level of attraction between individuals thanks to biological parameters.

In the eyes of their creators our body would indeed be conditioned from birth, causing us to invariably crack on one type of person rather than another. Unconscious compatibility governed by genetics and biochemistry, therefore scientifically measurable.

"Genetic match making" instead of matchmakers ?

"Humans have fantasized about being able to make such predictions for centuries," says Pascal de Sutter, professor at the Faculty of Psychology at the Catholic University of Louvain, in Belgium, and consultant for the reality TV show "Married at first glance ”, which unites for the life of the people who have never seen each other.

In the villages, there were in particular matchmakers, responsible for connecting single people according to precise criteria guaranteeing a reciprocal and lasting attraction. Today, science gives us several indications on what will make a meeting work or not. ”

"By analyzing the DNA of couples of several species of mammals, including humans, we make the strange observation that the partners do not seem to come together completely by accident," says Ivan Rodriguez, professor of neurogenetics at the University of Geneva (UNIGE).

This happens at the receptors produced by genes linked to the immune system, which have several distinct types. There is an overrepresentation of couples whose partners have different types of these receptors. ”

Guided by molecules like in animals ?

The interpretations that can explain this pairing remain highly debated and controversial, but for many researchers, the phenomenon would respond to an imperative of evolution.

"From the point of view of the survival of the species, it is probably more interesting to see the birth of babies with a diverse bouquet of receptors of the immune system, in order to be able to better cope with pathogens and aggressions from the outside world", clarifies Ivan Rodriguez. But then, how would our genome, working in the shadows, drive our attractions?

The mechanisms involved in these guided choices of partners remain mysterious, recognize the specialists. Some evoke the action of pheromones, molecules which one secretes, capable of modifying the behavior in the other when there is compatibility. Pheramor, one of the futuristic dating apps, claims to create couples through the analysis of these chemical compounds in its users. However, the scientific consensus on the issue is not there.

"This communication of molecules has been proven in many animals, but it has not yet been demonstrated in humans," notes Bernard Sablonnière, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Faculty of Medicine in Lille, France, and author of The chemistry of feelings (Ed. Odile Jacob).

"There is perhaps a single molecule, produced by the glands under the armpit, which is technically entitled to the title of pheromone with us, reports Ivan Rodriguez. But for our species, there is no known pheromone that will induce stereotypical sexual behavior in a partner. ”

If the trail of pheromones is ultimately quite unlikely, the hypothesis of an unconscious communication between our bodies remains preferred. The most obvious channel, then?

Our nose, being proven that "smells have a strong discriminating power and that an attraction at this level is necessary for a relationship", underlines Francesco Bianchi-Demicheli, professor at UNIGE and specialist in sexual medicine. There would thus be people who inspire a rapprochement and others who rather make you want to take the tangent.

However, here again, it may not be just a matter of personal taste in terms of perfume, notes Ivan Rodriguez: “Body odor is, among other things, the product of our microbial environment, since our skin is covered with millions of bacteria. These latter produce organic compounds which can reflect our bouquet of genes linked to the immune system. Some researchers believe that we would be able to unconsciously sense these bouquets of receptors and preferentially orient ourselves towards the individuals most complementary to us in this area. ”

The resonance between two beings...

So it's a fact: we are still under pressure from natural selection. So, with these apps of the future, have we finally invented the perfect matchmaker ?

Far from it, temper the experts, like Bernard Sablonnière, for whom "there are more neuropsychological parameters than biological to explain the attraction between two beings".

The sensory factors involved in attraction also appeal to the visual, hearing and touch, the last very important point in the process of seduction for our species. Humans display extremely complex sexuality.

"Pheromones can certainly play a considerable role, but that is not enough to guarantee agreement. In love there is an inconsistent, variable part, full of surprise, completely rejected from this experience. ", Adds sexologist Antoine Spath, author of Foiling the traps of manipulators and narcissistic perverts, it's clever.

With us, a whole "cultural dimension is added to the factors governing the choice of partner, which will weigh heavily in the face of a small biological fact," explains Ivan Rodriguez. On this point too, a certain predictability would be measurable, advance psychology and sociology, which have identified an almost infallible magnet: homogamy.

"This observation is not very politically correct, even if it is a reality, assumes Pascal de Sutter. People from the same socio-cultural background are more likely to get together, because this common origin makes it easier to understand each other and alleviates the challenges to be met in the couple. ”

Demonstration is done with dating sites: while these spaces theoretically allow the elimination of social barriers and bringing together all categories of the population, the couples who form there are rather homogamous on arrival, as the pointed out the Swedish researcher Marie Bergström in her book "The new laws of love: Sexuality, couple and meetings in the digital age" (Ed. La Découverte), in 2019.

Cannot be programmed by an algorithm !

And if not, what about personality as the engine of seduction?

Do opposites attract each other like yin and yang, North Pole and South Pole?


At least at the start. "Complementary profiles, with centers of interest, divergent values ​​and tastes, flaws and unshared qualities, often generate an attraction because difference, the unknown, are desirable," notes Pascal de Sutter.

They feed each other in the early days, but for a long-term relationship, the science is pretty clear, similar personalities work much better. ”

“The olfactory signal is a powerful actor in history, as well as the weight of culture, of collective thought, which freeze codes of attractiveness. However, we must not forget the emotional dimension of desire. Little-known equations remain unanswered to explain the feeling of compatibility. ”

“Charm is a parameter that cannot be defined scientifically. The resonance between two beings cannot be programmed by an algorithm.

Of course, with such experience, you can love yourself, but love yourself well, just good. The current which passes between two beings is not to love each other "just" well. It is an elusive, mysterious part of us that makes us love each other for a lifetime. ", Says Patricia Delahaie, psychosociologist, author of How to make the good meeting.

Sandra Stac for DayNewsWorld