Isn’t it nice to know that when your good looks, charm and flattery fail you, you can always count on psychology to help you get your man or woman?
Scientists from around the world are spending their hard-earned grant money researching the Tao of dating and the rules of attraction. And now you, humble dating specimen, can reap the benefits just by reading on. Who said all’s fair in love?
The Right Music
It’s well known that music has a great influence on our moods. But psychologists at North Adams State College in Massachusetts have taken this notion one step further. According to their research, listening to soft rock music with a member of the opposite sex actually makes you appear more attractive.
Dating Tip: Take a date to a low-key acoustic rock show. You’ll still be able to talk to each other, and the soft rock will, according to this research, make you both irresistible. According to Allmusic.com, soft rock artists include The Carpenters, Fleetwood Mac, Jackson Browne and Chicago. More contemporary examples could include Norah Jones, Jack Johnson, Blue Rodeo or Jason Mraz.
The Fear Factor
In 2002, Cindy Meston and Penny Frohlich from the Psychology Department of the University of Texas published a report that looked at the correlation between fear and attraction. Their study involved showing photographs to people who had just stepped off a rollercoaster, and showing the same photos to people who didn’t take the ride.
The results showed that those who had been on the rollercoaster found the people in the photographs more attractive. It’s thought that the rush of adrenaline has something to do with heightening our sense of attraction to others.
Dating Tip: A scary movie (think the Saw series, House of 1,000 Corpses) or a visit to an amusement park are great ways to get your date’s adrenaline racing, and test this theory of attraction while you’re at it.
Have a Laugh
At the other end of the spectrum, making someone laugh is a great way to build rapport, according to U.S. psychologists Arthur Aron and Barbara Fraley. They conducted an experiment in which strangers — one was blindfolded, the other speaking with a drinking straw in their mouth — learned dance moves together. The results were hilarious, and the researchers found that participating in a silly, lighthearted activity — and sharing a laugh — brought the strangers closer together.
Dating Tip: An activity that can bring about laugher is a great way to bond with a date, so next time you’re seeking to make an impression, plan a date that’s cheery and playful. And don’t forget to laugh mercilessly at yourselves.
At the 2006 Edinburgh International Science Festival in Scotland, scientists conducted an experiment to test the theory of instant attraction via a mass speed dating session. Participants had to rate the attractiveness of their dates and indicate whether they would like to meet that person again.
The study, facilitated by Professor Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire, revealed that women make up their minds about potential partners much faster than men. Perhaps surprisingly for those who perceive women as fickle and indecisive, it was the fairer sex who made a faster decision about a mate with 45 percent of women participants making up their minds in under 30 seconds as compared to 22 percent of men.
Dating Tip: Guys, when it comes to making a great first impression, the clock is ticking, and you literally don’t have a second to lose when it comes to hooking a date. Look sharp, act smooth and do it fast.
Opposites Don’t Attract
When it comes to finding love, you’ll do well to ignore the old adage ‘opposites attract,’ according to scientists in the U.S. A study conducted in 2003 by researchers Peter Buston and Stephen Emlen of Cornell University reveals that a relationship between equals and not opposites has the best chance of success.
Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers say, “Our results suggest that individuals seeking stable long-term relationships should not seek the highest quality partner available but should simply look for partners who are similar to themselves.”
Dating Tip: Science says that we stand a better chance of meeting our match when choosing a mate who is most like how we perceive ourselves.
By Sarah Fielding