A new French study published in the Psychology of Music journal found that women are much more likely to agree to a date when romantic music is playing in the background.
French researchers studied 87 women, 18-20 years old. The women were first asked to wait in a waiting room -- some listening to a love song, others listening to a neutral song. They were then asked to rate two different food products by "Antoine," a man rated extremely average-looking by another group of women.
The researchers chose 'Je l'aime à mourir', a very well-known love song by French songwriter Francis Cabrel which, loosely translated means, "I loved her to death." (You can see Francis working his magic here. For similar American mushiness, I'd recommend Marc Cohn's "True Companion.")
"Antoine" had the task of asking out the 87 women, all with the same generic pickup line, "My name is Antoine, as you know. I think you are very nice and I was wondering if you would give me your phone number. I'll phone you later and we can have a drink together somewhere next week."
What did they find?
The romantic love song in the waiting room almost doubled average Antoine's chances of getting a woman's phone number -- 52 percent of participants agreed to a date while under the influence of Francis Cabrel, while only 28 percent of women listening to the neutral song offered their digits.
There are a variety of theories floating around about how music can affect us so dramatically. It's possible that the romantic music acts as sort of a prime for romantic feelings -- after all, we've all been conditioned with thousands of romantic movies with music to match. It's also possible that the music induces an emotion that makes us more open to romantic possibilities. And, the researchers had already learned that playing romantic music in a flower shop entices men to spend more money. That's right, women aren't the only ones turning to romantic mush when we hear the first strains of "At Last." (My own personal kryptonite, btw.)
So, if you're working up the courage to flirt with a woman you meet at a nightclub or party, you might just want to wait until a romantic ballad is playing. If you're planning on bringing a date back to your apartment later, be sure you've got a romantic soundtrack at the ready. And if you're looking to put the spark back in your long-term relationship, you might try playing the song you had your first dance to.
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