Jewel in the croon: Music is key to love, say scientists

18th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

French researchers have provided scientific backing to would-be seducers who instinctively know they have to swap rap or heavy metal for Marvin Gaye to improve the odds for lurv.

In an unusual piece of research, investigators from the universities of Southern Brittany and Southern Paris recruited 87 single women aged 18 to 20.

The volunteers each spent five minutes in a waiting room where one of two carefully-selected tunes played in the background.

Lurking in another room was a young man, who had also been carefully selected, by another panel of women, to be "average" in looks.

After exposure to the background music, the woman was instructed to discuss the difference between two food products -- an organic cookie and a non-organic cookie -- with the young man.

At the end of their conversation, the young male used a standard chat-up line, asking the girl for her phone number and saying he wanted to ask her out for a drink.

What swayed his chances of success was the music that had been played in the waiting room, the researchers found.

When a "neutral" song -- "L'heure du the" ("Time for tea") by Vincent Delerm -- was played, only 28 percent of women responded positively.

But when the romantic ballad "Je l'aime a mourir" ("I love her to death") by Francis Cabrel was played, his success rate nearly doubled, to 52 percent.

"Our results confirm that the effect of exposure to media content is not limited to violence and could have the potential to influence a high spectrum of behaviour," said Nicolas Gueguen, one of the three researchers.

"The results are interesting for scientists who work on the effect of background music on individuals' behaviour."

The research appears in a peer-reviewed journal, Psychology of Music.

© 2010 AFP

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