Share via Email Tip 6: Think of dating as browsing a fixed menu rather than a limitless buffet. Unfortunately for poor Valentine, his miracle was not enough to have his life spared, so we will never know if it would have been enough for him to get a date with the jailer's daughter. Indeed, getting lucky is a bit of a mystery. As if being single wasn't hard enough, there's a lot of conflicting dating advice out there.
Should you play hard to get or wear your heart on your sleeve? Should you kiss on the first date? Dress up or keep it casual? Thankfully science can help.
Thousands of research hours in laboratories all over the world have been devoted to providing answers to questions just like these. Here are seven tips from science that just may help you find a date on Valentine's Day.
You've heard of evidence-based medicine? This is evidence-based dating. Turn up the heat A brilliant study by psychologists has shown that temperature can influence your date's judgement of your personality. In one experiment, participants who held a cup of hot tea were more likely to judge another individual as having a "warmer" personality, compared with participants who were given a cup of iced coffee to hold.
Now, gentlemen and ladies, I am not suggesting that you set your love interest on fire, but given a choice between a coffee house and an ice cream parlor, I'd take her for the coffee. If you prefer ice cream, consider bringing gloves or mittens for your date. If she lets you put gloves on her hands without asking questions, she's certainly a keeper. Shout in his right ear Hordes of eager men and women pack into bars and nightclubs, all hoping to get lucky and land a date, or at least a brief romantic encounter.
I never understood why this kind of environment is such a highly preferred location for mate selection. It smells of sweat and beer. But maybe there is some method in this ritualistic madness. Tip 2 comes from a pair of Italian psychologists with the help of a young female actress. She would approach individuals of either sex in nighclubs and simply ask for a cigarette. Since nightclubs are so loud, it seemed reasonable for her to lean in and speak directly into their right or left ear.
Unsurprisingly, the men were more likely to offer one of their cigarettes than were the women. The impressive finding, however, was that people of either sex were significantly more likely to comply with the request when it was received by the right ear, compared with the left. So, ladies, if you'd like a man to comply with your request for a late-night post-nightclub tryst, you might try shouting in his right ear.
Select your tunes wisely In the movie High Fidelity , John Cusack's character laments, "Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music? If you're going to make a mix-tape that's like a playlist, for anyone under 20 reading this for your honey, what kind of music should you include? In an experiment conducted by French psychologists , year old single women listened to music while they were ostensibly waiting for the experiment to start.
Five minutes later, they interacted with a young male participant while completing a marketing survey. In reality, the experiment started as soon as the women began listening to the music, which either included romantic or neutral lyrics. Then, following the marketing survey, the male participant, who was really one of the experimenters, asked the woman for her phone number. As you might expect, the women who had previously listened to romantic lyrics were more likely to give out their numbers than those who had listened to neutral songs.
Perhaps those s boy bands had the right idea, after all. Cross a scary bridge Here's another very simple tip for the ladies: In , University of British Columbia psychologists were studying human attraction using two bridges that crossed a local river.
One bridge was solid, allowed firm footing, and was made of heavy cedar. It was only ten feet above the river, and had steady handrails. The other bridge was a five-foot-wide, foot-long suspension bridge made of wire cables threaded through the ends of wooden boards. It would tilt, sway, and wobble as people tried to cross, feet above the river. Men who had just crossed one of the bridges were approached by an attractive female experimenter who asked them to complete several questionnaires.
The men who had crossed the anxiety-inducing suspension bridge were more likely to attempt further contact with the experimenter than were the men who had crossed the stable bridge. The researchers suggest that it's as if the men misunderstood their anxiety-induced physiological arousal — elevated heart rate, sweaty palms, and so on — interpreting it as sexual attraction and desire.
Moral of the story: Hide your feelings Everybody knows that people like people who like them. In psychology, this is called the reciprocity principle, and it is how I try to justify my straightforward approach with women.
When I'm attracted to someone, I tend to let them know it. A study published this month in the journal Psychological Science suggests that I might do better to keep my mouth shut, at least with respect to my feelings. College-age women viewed Facebook profiles of four male students who had previously viewed their own profiles, and were told that the guys' responses indicated that they liked them a lot, liked them a little, or that their responses were ambiguous.
The Facebook profiles were fictitious, as were the responses. Unsurprisingly, women were more attracted to the guys who said they liked them a lot, compared with the guys who were more lukewarm.
More interesting, however, was that the women were most attracted to the men who had been ambiguous. Perhaps that explains why I'm still single. My new approach will be to keep women guessing. Ambiguity is my new middle name. Go fishing in small ponds "There are lots of fish in the sea," your friends might say if you'd recently been through a break-up. Next time a friend tries to sell you this line, do yourself a favour and ignore it. Another study in Psychological Science indicates that people make better dating decisions when they're fishing in a small pond, rather than in a big ocean.
More than three thousand men and women participated in 84 speed-dating events. Some of the events were small, with each individual having only 15 to 23 "speed dates" over the course of the evening, while others were large, consisting of 24 to 31 dates.
Later, participants indicated which of their partners they wanted to see again. Those in the larger sessions made their decisions on the basis of external characteristics like age, height and weight. In other words, the conversations themselves mattered little. Those who had attended the smaller events, however, made their decisions more on characteristics known to be important in determining compatibility, such as religious affiliation, occupation and education. This isn't actually all that surprising: So think of dating as browsing a fixed menu rather than a limitless buffet.
Wear red Everyone, male or female, likes red. In a study , University of Rochester researchers write, "red is hypothesised to serve as an aphrodisiac for men because it carries the meaning of sex and romance.
Whatever the case, in five different experiments, the researchers found that women wearing red or posing in front of a red background were rated by men as more attractive and more sexually desirable than women wearing other colors.
A study by the same researchers found that women also preferred men wearing red clothes, or in front of red backgrounds. And not just that: Interestingly, neither gender is actually aware that they prefer red, suggesting that the red preference may be an unconscious one. Keep it subtle, though. Red body paint probably won't do the trick.
Jason G Goldman is a doctoral student in developmental psychology at the University of Southern California. He blogs at The Thoughtful Animal References.