On the “non-sexy” side were tunes such as “Surfing with the Alien” by Joe Satriani, “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra and “Cold” by Jorge Mendez.
“We did a pre-selection that was meant to be half sexy and half non-sexy, but interestingly, it turned out that how participants perceive the stimuli varies individually,” study leader Tom Fritz said.
In short, some people were actually turned on by the aforementioned “non-sexy” songs and other tunes previously deemed to be of that ilk.
The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, reported headier conclusions, however. Fritz and his team found that perception of touch is affected by music. The sexier we perceive the music to be, the sexier we also perceive touch.
The neuroscientists came to this conclusion after conducting three experiments involving a total of 54 participants ranging in age from about 20–40.
In the first, participants were shown a soundproof space that was divided in two by a curtain. They were given headphones and told that they would hear music, but were instructed only to focus on the touch applied to their forearm by an assistant, whom they had met earlier. The assistant was supposedly listening to the same music, too.
That was a fib.
In truth, when the curtain closed, a robot was placed perpendicular to each participant’s forearm. The robot’s touch, made with an attached soft brush, was administered 10 second after the start of each musical piece and lasted for different durations. All of the participants were exposed to a random sequence of songs and touch simulations.
“We chose a relatively neutral touch experience, and did not systematically vary the sexiness of the touch,” Fritz said.