3 Universally Unattractive Habits, According to Science

Updated 12/18/18
Christian Vierig /Getty Images

The supposed "laws of attraction" never fail to inspire curiosity in men and women alike, especially given our increasingly complex dating landscape. With right swipes quickly becoming the yardstick by which we measure attraction—online dating being a platform that encourages our tendency to make quick judgments purely based on looks—we're that much more intrigued by what science says people are consciously and subconsciously attracted to. 

Business Insider was equally intrigued, identifying the actions and personality traits that tend to make people less attracted to a potential partner, using multiple scientific studies as testament. While some of the below traits are personality-based and therefore can't necessarily be deduced from a dating app profile, they're worth keeping in mind if you're currently on the dating scene. Here's what tends to turn people off across the board, according to science.

Getty Images

Not Having a Sense of Humor

If you ask a person about the top five qualities they look for in a partner, a sense of humor is most likely included in that list. A 2009 study actually found that having no sense of humor, or even an average sense of humor, was significantly less attractive than having a great sense of humor, to both men and women.

Sleep Deprivation

As if sleep deprivation wasn't already bad enough, a lack of sleep could also make you appear less attractive to potential partners. This is substantiated by a 2010 study published on The BMJ, which asked participants to rate photos of people who had slept for eight hours the night before and people who hadn't slept in 31 hours. Unsurprisingly, the latter group was perceived as less attractive, less healthy, and even sadder.


According to a series of studies published in Evolution and Human Behavior, traits like helpfulness and contribution to shared goals are at the heart of perceived attractiveness. The researchers found that, even for conventionally attractive participants, their rating went down considerably if they'd proven to be lazy.

Head over to Business Insider for more.

Shop Date-Night Essentials

Ganni Dufort Leopard-Printed Silk Slip Dress
Ganni Dufort Leopard-Printed Silk Slip Dress $315 $220
Williams Sonoma Schott Zwiesel Pure Cabernet Glasses
Williams Sonoma Schott Zwiesel Pure Cabernet Glasses $14
Building Block Puck Leather Clutch
Building Block Puck Leather Clutch $395 $277
Diptyque Baies/Berries Scented Candle
Diptyque Baies/Berries Scented Candle $64
Jules Smith Imogen Hoop Earrings
Jules Smith Imogen Hoop Earrings $45

Related Stories