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Think Tank

Romantic Background Music Can Help You Get More Dates

Love songs may actually help your love life, a recent study shows. Researchers in France conducted an experiment in which 18- to 20-year-old women were exposed to songs with either romantic lyrics or neutral ones as they waited for a marketing survey to begin. After three minutes, the girl was led into an experiment room where a male confederate, posing as a second survey participant, waited. For several minutes, they participated in a taste test of organic and non-organic cookies, and afterward, during a break, the man asked the subject for her number. Those girls who has listened to the love songs were more likely to give their number to the man. 

Music's ability to influence behavior is well known. Previous studies have shown links between aggressive music and aggressive behavior, as well as pro-social music and pro-social behavior. A similar study by Nicholas Guéguen and Céline Jacob, the researchers behind the love song study, concluded that playing songs that evoke feelings of empathy made diners more likely to leave big tips. But this is one of the first to demonstrate a link between media and romantic behavior. 

Behavioral economist Dan Ariely told Big Think today that this "very cute piece of research fits well with what we know about priming and how mindset can influence later decisions." Ariely's book "Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions" suggests that we are more susceptible to outside influence, and therefore less in control of our actions, than we think we are. Shopping malls for instance have been playing soothing "muzak" to successfully encourage more browsing for years.

This study has many implications, Ariely explained, "if you think about this in a general way of how mindset can be easily influenced and how in turn that mindset can influence later decisions." Specifically, Ariely cited possibilities for online dating: "People who go dating know a lot already about how the atmosphere and mindset influence decisions (this is why we go out, drink, etc.), but this shows that the same principles can play in online environments and therefore be even more controlled and manipulable."
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