Watch The Science of Attraction

Written by: The Exchange

So you’re at a bar and you notice someone. Or maybe they notice you. Why? Who we find attractive is a hard question to answer. Are some of us wired to be monogamous? Promiscuous? What do the mating habits in the animal kingdom tell us about human love and sex? Join us to learn from a variety of species about what advantages or disadvantages different animal mating strategies confer. The event will include an audience Q&A as well.


Zoe Donaldson is an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder and a NIH New Innovator Awardee. She studies a monogamous rodent species to discover how romantic pair bonds are encoded and change the brain, work that has been highlighted in the Economist, Newsy, and The Washington Post. Her research has the potential to identify novel treatments for psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders that affect social functioning.

Hope Klug is a behavioral ecologist. Her research focuses on understanding why animals behave the way that they do from an evolutionary perspective. She is interested in why some animal parents eat their own offspring and the decisions that males and females make when choosing a mate. Hope is currently a Guerry Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Jennifer Verdolin draws on animal behavior to reveal how much we can learn from other species to improve our relationships, families, and lives. She is the author of two popular nonfiction science books, Wild Connection: What Animal Courtship and Mating Tell Us About Human Relationships and Raised by Animals: The Surprising New Science of Animal Family Dynamics. Her writing has appeared in Scientific American, Slate Magazine, The Washington Post, and National Geographic.

The statements and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the event participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for this event or of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.