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Mirror, mirror: The psychology of how we determine the fairest of them all

What makes a person attractive? This question has been debated hotly throughout history. Our sayings tell us that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, while our stories describe objective measures of beauty, such as the magic mirror in Snow White, which unequivocally evaluates who is the fairest of them all. More recent contributions to the beauty argument are similarly mixed: motivational throw pillows assure us that beauty is about being yourself, incels argue that beauty is in the jawline of the Chad, skincare gurus promise it’s in their special seven-step routine.

A colorful digital illustration of two women in knight armor swordfighting intensely under an archway made of roses.

From Foes to Flames: Does the Enemies-To-Lovers trope exist in real life?

If you are a fervent reader of slow-burn romance novels, star-crossed enemies-to-lovers stories, rivalry, and similar exhilarating genres, you’ve likely come across the infamous idiom, “There’s a thin line between love and hate.” But how accurate is this phrase in reality? And is this phenomenon an actual occurrence beyond literature and pop culture?

A pink flower spots its mate, which is another pink flower, with a binocular. Text written "Can Plants Choose Their Partners?"

Swiping Leaf: Can plants choose their partners?

The life of a plant may look static, uneventful. Plants are photosynthetic: they can produce their own food using CO2 and water, powered by sunlight. But behind their green façade, plants have a more complex, alien lifestyle than we usually give them credit for.

A person enjoying a chocolate bar and experiencing the feeling of love. Text written: "Love by chocolate - lust, attraction, or attachment?"

Love by Chocolate: Is it lust, attraction, or attachment?

Chocolate has always been an essential element of love. We can see the central presence of chocolate in traditions as well. In Turkish culture, when two people are getting engaged, it’s customary to buy chocolate on a silver tray alongside a bouquet of flowers. In the past, chocolate was used as a love potion by high-class women in the New Spain.1 Hence, it is apparent that there is a clear connection between chocolate and display of affection in the society that sustains across time and cultures. In this article, we will share with you three important subcategories of love and how it connects to chocolate.

Under text saying five senses of attraction are illustrations representing taste as a mouth, smell as a nose, sight as an eye, touch as hands holding, and sound as an ear.

Five Senses of Attraction

You may have heard about “love at first sight,” but what about “love at first smell?” When we meet someone new, our five senses work to synthesize the information we encounter to see whether they might be a potential mate. Our senses can inform our attitudes in surprising ways. In this article, we discuss some interesting studies related to each of the five senses and how they contribute to romantic attraction.

A record player with a sunflower horn. the record player with the sunflower motif is repeated four times in the illustration with different colour and background each time.

Are We All Mainstream? The Science Behind Aesthetic Taste

What is your favourite shape? And your favourite piece of art? Your tastes define you; you may think that these tastes are unique and extremely personal, but science has a different hypothesis: some of your aesthetic tastes may be, to a certain point, universal.

A man looking up and seeing different colour and size spheres through a beam of white light in a dark space.

The Universe in the Dark

Let’s take a moment to imagine the vastness of our universe. All that is visible to us through our gigantic telescopes is unimaginable to our minds. Yet, all that is visible to us makes up a tiny slice of our universe – just 4 percent. The remaining is made up of dark energy and dark matter. Today, we focus on the illusive dark matter which constitutes around 23 percent of our universe. How did we discover matter we cannot see? How is dark matter different to ‘normal’ matter? Most importantly, what is dark matter? I’ll give you a hint for the last one. We don’t really know yet. Let’s forget you read that last sentence and quickly move on.

A pair of headphones with a brain in the middle. Neon-coloured sound waves are seen coming out of the headphones and making connections on the brain. The brain is lit up by the same neon colours.

Bass Goes Boom

Whether it’s the rhythmic tapping of a spoon on a plate, the clicking of a car’s turn signal, or the drips of a leaking faucet, humans find a beat wherever we go. But why is it that we are so susceptible to a single note that is repeated over and over again?

A person in a room encountering their hologram and reaching out to touch it. The person's hologram is also reaching out to touch the person.

Are You a Hologram?

It was 1915 when our resident genius Albert Einstein published his theory of General Relativity. As Christmas trees stood tall and families reunited for the holidays that year, Einstein received a letter from a German soldier on the Russian front. This soldier was Karl Schwarzschild, who, amongst the guns and shouts, found a solution to Einstein’s theory that directly predicted black holes.

A cartoon drawing of a frozen zombie head encased in a cube of ice. The ice is melting and forms a puddle of water on the ground.

Awakening Ancient Viruses with Climate Change

We hear about zombies all the time in movies, books, and TV shows. They often start with a corpse coming back to life and passing a virus onto others, who then get infected and pass it onto more people— and suddenly you’ve got a zombie apocalypse on your hands. But what happens when the virus itself is a zombie, resurrected from its thousand-year underground slumber? While they might not be the bringers of the apocalypse, the release of ancient viruses that were previously frozen underground is a new and unprecedented consequence of climate change that has researchers wondering if they might cause issues for us in the future.