You’ve tried taking your crush out to the movies, giving them gifts, you’ve tried foot rubs, dressing up, dressing down. Man, why aren’t they in love with you already? So how can you make someone fall in love with you… with science?
Hey lovers Julia here for DNews
Just a forward, you can’t force someone to love you. There’s no love potion, no spell. You aren’t entitled to someone else’s time, attention, and affections. Sorry Alpha males and followers of the game. Just doesn’t happen that way. Forcing someone else to love you always ends badly, like you might wind up creating one of the darkest wizards the world has ever seen. Nice going Merope Gaunt.
But according to some studies by Arthur Aron, psychologist from State University of New York At Stonybrook, there might be a few ways to set the mood.
Probably the best way to fall in love, is intimacy. The act of sharing a little bit about yourself and having someone respond in kind. Of course this happens naturally. But scientists being scientists, they wanted to create intimacy and bonds between people in a lab, and make it happen fast. So Aron and his colleagues made a 36 question quiz published in the journal, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, to create “closeness in an experimental context.
In their study they paired up strangers and had them take this test. It features alternating questions and they get increasingly more personal. Stating, “One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure”.
So I tell you something about my childhood, then you tell me something about your mother… and it goes back and forth for 36 questions… at the end you stare longingly into each other’s eyes for four minutes. At the end of the 45 minutes, by one measure 30% of participants rated their relationship to their partner, who was a complete stranger, as closer than their other closest relationships! So that’s definitely interesting.
So does getting super personal and staring into someone’s eyes for four minutes sound scary? Oh yeah. That’s part of the thrill.
A writer for the New York Times who did this experiment on a date said “Two minutes is just enough to be terrified, “Four really goes somewhere.”
And there’s something to be said about being terrified and falling in love. There are certain scenarios where love blossoms. Like scary movies. I’m not the biggest fan of them, but apparently they help set the mood.
Basically your body is aroused and stimulated by the movie. You starting sweating, your heart is racing. 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 studied this phenomenon back in 1974 in a 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 “just in case they had any follow up questions”. What Aron found was that the men who walked on the scary bridge rated the pictures as more sexual and were more likely to call up the woman.
So just in case you don’t have a suspenseful suspension bridge near by to take your date on, a scary or suspenseful movie will do according to another study published in the Journal of Social Psychology. In this study, the researchers found that couples had more afflictive behavior like touching, talking, after watching a suspenseful movie than those who went to a less “arousing” movie. Or another study published in the Archives of Sexual behavior found similar results after couples went on roller coasters!
So you’re terrified of getting intimate with someone by asking personal questions, no problem! Just head to the movies or a theme park near you.