Can background music up the odds of getting a date?

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According to a new study from French researchers, when romantic music is playing in the background, women may be more likely to agree to a date. To determine whether romantic music might actually help spark a romance, researchers from Université de Paris-Sud and Université de Bretagne-Sud recruited 87 women 18- to 20-year-old single women. They found that, when asked out after listening to a love song, more than half of the ladies agreed. Yet, when a neutral song was playing in the background, only 28% of study participants said they’d go out on a date.

For the study, published in the journal Psychology of Music researchers first asked a panel of women to rate 12 male volunteers on a scale of attractiveness. Researchers then asked the guy who was consistently characterized as “average” to participate in their study. For the study, female participants were left in a waiting room for several minutes, where either a love song or neutral song was being played. They were then asked into another room, where an experimenter was present while they discussed two different food products with the “average” man. After this discussion, the experimenter would leave the room, saying that the two needed to wait just a few moments.

During this window, the man asked study participants out on a date — each time telling the young woman that he thought she was very nice, and he would love to get her phone number and give her a call to take her out later that week. The study authors found that, only 28% of women who had been listening to the neutral song said yes, compared with 52% who’d been listening to a love song.

Considering that only one romantic song was used for this experiment, researchers say future research is needed to determine whether there is a more broadly applicable effect. Yet, even with this rather limited study, they say the findings indicate a positive effect of media on behavior. (Previous research, the point out, has largely been limited to determining whether violent or negative media exposure might have negative behavioral effects.) As the authors conclude:

“In our experiment, it is possible that the romantic song lyrics activated positive affect which, in turn, made the participant more receptive to a request for a date. It’s also possible that the romantic song lyrics acted as a prime that, in turn, led to the display of behavior associated with this prime.”

In other words, if you’re looking to get a date, putting some love songs on in the background probably can’t hurt.