Honey, I was just looking! Science defends ogling - Behavior - MSNBC.com By Diane Mapes MSNBC contributor updated 12 minutes ago Youre walking down the street with your significant other when something catches your eye. A seductive mouth. A dazzling head of hair. A spectacular pair of knees. Slowing your pace, you cast a surreptitious glance at the object of your down-low desire. The glance becomes a stare then slowly graduates to an ogle. Suddenly, everything gets quiet too quiet and you realize that your lover is now pointedly staring at you. Judy McGuire, a dating columnist from Brooklyn, has totally been there. One time I was out with some girlfriends and the plan was to meet up with my boyfriend and his buddy at this bar and when my boyfriend walked up, I didnt even see him because I was staring slack-jawed at his friend, says McGuire, author of the forthcoming advice book, How Not to Date. The guy was just really good-looking. My boyfriend laughed about it later but at the time, he was like, Judy! According to a recent study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, McGuire was only doing what comes natural. In a series of experiments on something called attention adhesion, a team of psychologists found that every one of the men and women in their study fixated on highly attractive people within the first half second of seeing them and had a harder time pulling their gaze away from good-looking folks than average joes. Whats more, women were just as likely to ogle hotties as men. Our research suggests that its inevitable to a degree, says Dr. Jon Maner, assistant professor of psychology at Florida State University and author of the study. Peoples eyes are automatically captured by attractive members of the opposite sex although our research also suggests that self-control can take over after that initial attentional bias. While the study may be the first scientific proof to back up that old adage, Hey, Im married, not dead, its results may still come as a shock to some, says Dr. David Barash, professor of psychology at the University of Washington and author of The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People. Just looking People buy into this myth of the perfect mate and how once they find them, they wont have any interest in anyone else, and thats just wrong, says Barash. If theyre a normal healthy human mammal, theyre likely to be attracted to someone else on occasion. It doesnt mean that their marriage or partnership is doomed. Nor does it mean they have to act on it. Barash says being upfront with both yourself and your partner about the fact that attraction happens is the best way to deal with it although that doesnt mean completely giving in to your inner wolf. In the past, Ive had boyfriends who were real jerks about that stuff, the whole open-mouth, Oh wow! and it makes you feel like crap, says McGuire. One guy told me Kate Moss was his ideal and I should try to have her body which with my hardy Irish peasant stock would never happen. According to Maner, our constant exposure to Kate Moss and her ilk via a stream of 24/7 media is one big thing thats changed in the world of ogling. The tendency to look at good-looking folks is rooted in our biological history, he says. But nowadays, were constantly bombarded by highly attractive people even unrealistically attractive people and that can have profound consequences both for the way we see ourselves and feel about ourselves and also for our relationships. Another possibly new development? Shameless horndoggery. Weve found pretty consistently that the extent to which people find their attention captured by attractive members of the opposite sex really depends upon personality characteristics, says Maner. And people who are more sexually promiscuous are much more likely to have their attention captured by attractive members of the opposite sex. McGuire says she eventually broke up with her modelizer boyfriend (as well as another guy who asked her for a photo of her sister) and found a more respectful mate.