Remember when it was cool to carry around a boombox on your shoulder? Me neither, but if you must, stock it with James Blunt and Sarah McLachlan, and you’ll up your chances of picking up a stranger.
Nicolas Guegen, a French psychologist and leader of the study, brought in 183 female students between the ages of 18 and 20, telling them that they were taking part in a market-research test with another person. Researchers then told each woman that her partner was late and that she’d have to wait for five minutes. During the wait, either a romantic song or a neutral pop song was played.
Then, the women were led to a different room where their partners, supposedly average-looking 20-year-old men, were waiting. Along with a researcher, each male-female pair discussed the merits of different biscuits. The researcher made an excuse to leave the room, and the man—a trained actor working off a script—asked the woman on a date.
Fifty-two percent of the women who listened to romantic music gave out their numbers, compared to 28 percent who listened to a neutral track.
I’m a bit skeptical. How do we know conversations about biscuits aren’t the real driving force here? I’ve only failed four times when using pastry discussion as a pick-up tactic. Then again, I’ve only tried it three times. Don’t ask.
If you’re wondering how men react to romantic music, that’s a trickier topic. According to Adrian North, a psychologist at Heriott-Watt University in Scotland, “The danger is if you do the same experiment with blokes, all the men will say yes.”
I will update this post if I ever think of a comeback.