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Sometimes the two numbers are very close to one another, and other times they’re very different.
When and why personal preferences and general consensus diverge is something Eastwick and Hunt (both from the University of Texas at Austin) are committed to investigating.
This means that each person really has two numbers on their foreheads: one reflecting the personal preferences of whoever’s looking and the other reflecting general consensus.
To test the effect of diverging personal preferences on real couples, the three (Paul Eastwick, Lucy Hunt, and E. Finkel) asked 167 couples how long they’d known each other before becoming romantically involved—and whether they were friends first.