Whether sizing up a rival or searching for a mate, our attention gets stuck on attractive people, a new study has revealed.
Researchers at Florida State University determined how quickly and strongly attention is drawn to attractive people. They found that we are automatically attuned to attractive people
Heterosexual men and women were shown to fixate on very attractive people within half a second of seeing them.
Single people looked at those of the opposite sex, but those in relationships were more likely to look at those of their own sex, who they view as rivals, as well as looking at those of the opposite sex.
Coupled up participants in the study were however, shown to have a greater interest in those of their own sex.
Jon Maner, a researcher on the study, said: "If we're interested in finding a mate, our attention gets quickly and automatically stuck on attractive members of the opposite sex.
"If we're jealous and worried about our partner cheating on us, attention gets stuck on attractive people of our own sex because they are our competitors."
The researchers warned that it may not be good for people to spend too much time looking at very attractive people in magazines and films, but that they should instead develop an appreciation for average people on the street.