Study finds that mood music affects how women react to a man's advances

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

From the Psychology of Music journal, a clue to why some guys get dates

Single ladies, listen up: Your willingness to give a guy your digits may have more to do with the music in the air than with his looks or his line.

Count on the French to try to prove that scientifically.

Single French women were more likely to accept the advances of an average-looking man after listening to a romantic song, according to Lubomir Lamy, an associate professor of social psychology at the University of Paris-South, and his colleagues at the University of Brittany-South. Their findings were published in the journal Psychology of Music.

"The general purpose of this study," Lamy wrote in an e-mail, "was to demonstrate that women induced with the idea of love are more easily attracted to other people."

Lamy and his co-authors invited female undergraduates, ages 18 to 20, to participate in what they were told was a taste-testing of organic cookies. The women were told they would talk about the edible products with another participant. One hundred eighty-three women signed up; the researchers eliminated those who were romantically attached or who did not consider themselves heterosexual. Then they scheduled the remaining 87 bachelorettes for their tests.

When each woman arrived, she sat alone in a waiting room as music played in the background: either Francis Cabrel's romantic "Je L'Aime à Mourir" ("I Love Him to Death") or Vincent Delerm's more neutral "L'Heure du Thé" ("Tea Time").

After three minutes, she was led into the "experiment room," where a young man was seated. The two then spent a few minutes sampling cookies and answering questions. When the pseudo market research was done, the young man made his move: "My name is Antoine . . . I think you are very nice and I was wondering if you would give me your phone number."

"Antoine," who'd been chosen for this role because a panel had rated him as average-looking, had instructions on how to act, when to pause, gaze and smile. He performed the same scene with each participant, the researchers said.

Fifty-two percent of the women who met him after having heard the Cabrel song gave a phone number. Of the women who had gotten an earful of "Tea Time," just 28 percent did.

"The results indicate that participants primed with the idea of love consider more favorably an attempt to seduce them," Lamy said.

-- Leslie Tamura

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