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Science
MEETING YOUR MATCH
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Helen Sewell investigates the 'science' of attraction.

Tuesday 30 July 11.00-11.30am

Helen Sewell is a successful career woman in her mid thirties, but she's single, and doesn't have time to mess around finding a man. But help is at hand. We follow Helen on her quest for an ideal date as she visits the laboratories which have carried out the most recent research into the biology behind choosing a partner. She meets three eligible bachelors and finds out whether science really can help her meet her match.

Helen with Huw, punting on the Cherwell
Helen with Huw, punting on the Cherwell
It seems that even romance may have a scientific dimension. Who we are attracted to is governed by our quest for the best possible set of genes to pass on to our children. But what makes one person more attractive to us than another? Is it their face, their smell, or even their voice? And once we've met that special someone, is there any way of predicting just how long love will last?

Helen talks to experts Glenn Wilson, Caroline Chamberlain and Ruth Epstein about what she should be looking for in her perfect man. Glenn Wilson, psychologist and author of "The Science of Love", has devised something called a Compatibility Quotient which aims to predict just how compatible two people might be. Caroline Chamberlain runs an internet dating agency which uses Glen's CQ test to match its clients, and Ruth Epstein is a speech therapist who advises Helen on the voices she is most likely to be attracted to.

So Helen put the experts to the test. We took twenty male volunteers and asked them to fill in Glenn's Compatibility test. We then chose three to go on a blind date with the lovely Helen. She doesn't know what the results are, except that one is super compatible, one is quite compatible and one is incompatible. But will she spot which one is which? Her dates have also undergone voice tests with Ruth Epstein, and she too has come up with the one she thinks Helen will get on best with, based on his voice.

Did Helen find Mr Right?

Helen's first date was with Huw, a 43 year old doctor from Bristol. They went punting on the river Cherwell in Oxford (see the picture above). Helen liked Huw, but there was no chemistry, so she doesn't think he's her Mr Right.
Helen with Julian on the London Eye
Helen with Julian on the London Eye
Next came Julian, a 37 year old Banker who lives in Paris. They spent a romantic afternoon on the London Eye and the sparks flew. Helen thinks Julian is definitely compatible with her and he's the one she would choose to see again.
Helen with Justin at London Zoo
Helen with Justin at London Zoo
The last was Justin, a 30 year old banker from London. Helen and Justin spent an 'interesting' evening at London Zoo. Helen felt Justin was too young and boisterous for her and that they had least in common of the three. She thinks he must have scored lowest on the CQ test.

But what did the experts say?

The actual scores of the CQ test were:

Huw - 136 (highly compatible)
Justin - 120 (fairly compatible)
Julian - 108 (least compatible)

Glenn Wilson predicted that Huw and Helen should have got on best. He warned Helen that she would be happiest in the long run with Huw, even if she got on better with one of the others on her dates.

Caroline also predicted that Huw would be best in the long run, but she thought that Helen might get on better with Justin, as he classed himself as attractive.

But, based on their voices alone, Ruth predicted that Helen would like Julian best, so she got it right.

So what did Helen decide to do? Well as a thirty-something single girl, she's decided not to follow her heart on this occasion, but heed the experts' advice. Julian may have been nice on first meeting, but in the long run he may not be the man for her. Huw, on the other hand, looks like the better long term prospect. But, with no chemistry, even the experts agree that they are not a match made in heaven. So armed with some scientific advice and a bit more experience, Helen will just keep on searching...

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