It may sound a tad unromantic, but researchers believe the key to finding the perfect match has little to do with our hearts and more to do with our brain chemistry and genetic makeup.
These findings were presented on SBS current affairs show Dateline with an investigation into the emerging brain scans and DNA tests that are used to examine romantic compatibility.
Anthropologist Dr Helen Fisher and neuroscientist Dr Lucy Brown said they had identified the components in our brains that both measured compatibility and explained why we fell in love with a particular person.
The researchers use fMRI scanners to identify brain systems and help determine someone’s personality traits and the type of person they’d be best matched with.
“Mapping love is something that in prior generations was really taboo,” Dr Fisher said. “People thought love was part of the supernatural, that you shouldn’t touch it. That it was magic”
But the hard truth is it is anything but magic. Dr Fisher said there were four brain systems — dopamine, serotonin, testosterone and oestrogen — that linked to a variety of personality types.
It is thought, for example, that people who champion the serotonin system have ‘traditional’ values and respect authority, and were therefore most likely to be attracted to one another.
Other researchers in the field have gone even further by seizing on DNA tests to explore love compatibility.
Canadian scientists Dr Ron Gonzalez and Dr Sara Seabrooke co-founded Instant Chemistry to work out a couple’s long-term potential by testing their genetic predispositions.
Genes that influence key brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin are all examined.
“That’s because in relationships there’s good and there’s bad but over time the bad can start to outweigh the good,” Dr Seabrooke said.
While this method of determining whether two people are built to last may be unappealing to some people, New York woman Emily Soukas is sold on the idea.
Ms Soukas has been looking for love for three years but said she had struggled with modern dating, such as the hugely popular hook-up app Tinder.
“What am I trying to get as a reaction from someone else, from a total stranger who knows nothing about me, except for this picture and 500 characters? It just felt so unnatural to me.”
She took the Instant Chemistry DNA test with her ex-boyfriend to investigate whether breaking up was the right move.
The results were striking. The test found that while there was strong physical attraction, their emotional compatibility was poor.
"If you can shift toward the science part of things and think about compatibility which does have a grounds and does have a way in which to measure it, I think you start to have tools in your tool box to find more successful relationships," Ms Soukas said.
The Dateline episode Love, Sex and Science aired on Tuesday night and is available to view online on SBS: On Demand.
Feature image via Dateline/SBS.
You can take Dr Helen Fisher's personality test here to figure out how you love.