Click here to sign up for the TestTube newsletter!
Related on TestTube:
Crazy Animal Courtship Rituals!
The Science of Love
Despite what some self-described "game experts" might claim, you can't force someone to fall in love with you by waiting a certain number of days to call them back or dabbing some love potion behind your ears. But there might be some scientifically proven ways to set the mood and maybe increase your chances, at least according to Arthur Aron, a psychologist from The State University of New York at Stony Brook. The act of being intimate with someone else, sharing something about yourself and having them respond in kind, is something that usually happens when two people naturally fall in love. Aron and fellow scientists wanted to study intimacy in a lab so they created a 36-question quiz, to create "closeness in an experimental context", which they published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. They paired strangers and had them take this test. The quiz requires them to ask each other questions which get increasingly more personal. After answering all the questions, the participants were required to stare into each other's eyes for four minutes. At the end of the 45-minute experiment, as many as 30 percent of participants rated their relationship to their experiment partner--a complete stranger--as closer than any of their other closest relationships. Out of curiosity, a writer for The New York Times tried to replicate this experiment on a date and found, "Two minutes is just enough to be terrified, Four really goes somewhere."
Fear may play a part in all this, because some research has shown that watching a scary movie with someone may also help set the mood. The science to support this is that your body is aroused and stimulated by the experience. You start sweating, and your heart races. But the funny thing is, when we feel a certain way, we're not always sure why. Mostly we figure it out by context clues. So you might accidentally mistake those feelings for the arousal you feel when you're attracted to someone. This is called "misattribution of arousal". Aron also studied this phenomenon in a 1974 study published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. In this experiment, he had a group of men walk across a scary bridge and a group of men walk across a less-scary bridge. At the other end of the bridge was a woman who showed them pictures and asked them how sexual they thought the pictures were and then she gave them her phone number. Aron's study found that the men who walked on the scarier bridge rated the pictures as more sexual and were more likely to later call the woman.
The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness (SagePub)
"A practical methodology is presented for creating closeness in an experimental context, Whether or not an individual is in a relationship, particular pairings of individuals in the relationship, and circumstances of relationship development become manipulated variables."
Love at First Fright: Partner Salience Moderates Roller-Coaster-Induced Excitation Transfer (University of Missouri)
"This study examined the effects of residual nervous system arousal on perceptions of sexual attraction."