Love Lab


What lies behind those butterflies you feel when you fall in love? What makes one person’s dream date a nightmare for another? Does romance really exist or do our genes precondition us to seek out particular partners? Love has been the inspiration for songwriters, poets and artists from the beginning of time but now scientists are suggesting that it's all a matter of chemistry. Is Cupid a scientist? LOVE LAB draws on research from a number of different disciplines including neuroscience, psychology, genetics, physiology and biochemistry and has been curated by some of Ireland’s leading scientists, including Boyle Medal winner Professor Luke O’Neill, geneticist Dr Aoife McLysaght, Professor Fiona Newell and Science magazine's Gonzo Scientist John Bohannon.

Read about the different research experiments by clicking the links on the left or below.

Ageless Love

Do older and younger people perceive attractiveness differently and if so, how? This experiment allows you to view and hear unfamiliar faces and voices of all ages, then rate how you like them.

Annalisa Setti

Average face, wlt hear from you.

Step into the special LOVE LAB photo booth and add your face to our collection – then judge the composite image of many faces – which face do you find attractive? Is good looking really attractive? Is  the new aspiration? This experiment will ask you to take a photograph of your face and then judge a range of composite faces on a scale of attractiveness. Below are some of the composite faces based on YOUR faces.

Jason Chan & Joanna McHugh

Can't help faling in love

They’re just not that right for you – this experiment will test your ability to control your desires when you see someone attractive; you will be asked to view a number of faces and complete a specific task – can you control your urges?

Hugh Garavan

Gaze into my eyes

If you want to get a date should you face them directly or just talk in their general direction? In this experiment you will be asked to rate the attractiveness of characters as they look and speak to you.


Kate Burke

Nice Genes

Does someone’s genetic make up really have an influence on whether you fancy them? In this experiment you can find out if there is a link between your genes, your immune system and the person you fancy.

Luke O'Neill, Cliona O'Farrelly, Chris Dold


What role does smell play in attraction? According to existing research there is a genetic basis for whether we find the smell of a hormone called androstenone pleasant, odourless or repulsive. In this experiment you can smell a worn T shirt, take a sniff test as well as leave a saliva sample of your DNA – which version of the gene will you have?

Aoife McLysaght

Turning Heads

Do attractive people really catch your eye or is it more a matter of personal taste? How does peripheral vision draw our attention to attractive people? In this experiment your gaze will be monitored as you look at a busy crowd scene. Who will turn your head?

Dan Rogers

Walk Right Into My Life

Is a swagger hotter than a trot? What defines a sexy walk? Does the way someone walks make them more desirable or is attraction down to other more influential features? In this experiment you will be asked to observe a variety of walks as you listen to pre-recorded voices and then rate the attractiveness of each gait.

Corrina Maguinness

Whisper Sweet Nothings

Great face, shame about the voice! Is a dulcet tone the most attractive? Or is an average voice best? Are certain accents more attractive than others? This experiment will also ask you to record your voice and then judge other voices on a scale of attractiveness.

Jason Chan & Joanna McHugh