The right musical ambiance might boost your chances of getting a date, a new study suggests.
Women were more prepared to give their phone number to an "average Joe" after listening to romantic background music, French researchers found.
Previously, the team found romantic music played in a flower shop led to male customers spending more money.
In the current work, the researchers tested the power of romantic lyrics on 18- to 20-year-old single women.
They first used questionnaires to pinpoint agreed-upon neutral and romantic songs, ending up with "Je l'aime à mourir," a well-known love song by French songwriter Francis Cabrel, and the neutral song "L'heure du thé" by Vincent Delerm.
A group of young women separate from the main study rated 12 young male volunteers for attractiveness, and the researchers picked those guys rated closest to average for the experiment.
A scenario was set up in which 87 females each spent time in a waiting room with background music playing. The participant then moved to a different room where an experimenter instructed her to discuss the difference between two food products with a young man (the average Joe).
Once the experimenter returned, she asked the pair to wait for a few moments alone. This gave the man a chance to use his rehearsed chat-up 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." (The line presumably sounds a lot more suave in French).
The love song in the waiting room almost doubled Antoine's chances of getting a woman's number – 52 percent of participants responded to his advances under the influence of Francis Cabrel, whereas only 28 percent of those who had heard the neutral song by Vincent Delerm offered their digits.
Why did the music have this effect? It may be that, as shown in earlier research, the music induced positive feelings or emotions, known in psychology as positive affect. Positive affect is associated with being more receptive to courtship requests, the researchers say.
Other types of media, such as violent video games or music with aggressive lyrics, have been shown to increase the likelihood of aggressive behavior, thoughts and feelings. But the present study suggests media exposure can induce positive behaviors as well, said study researcher Nicolas Guéguen from the Université de Bretagne-Sud in France.
However, further research is needed before wider generalizations can be made on the targeted use of love songs, the researchers say.
The results were published June 18 in the journal Psychology of Music.
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