Act like you find someone attractive for long enough and you may just develop feelings for the person, according to a new research study, indicating that you might just be able to fake your way to love.
Researchers recently invited people to participate in an an experimental speed dating session to play specific psychological games in order to determine if doing so would enkindle amourous thoughts that weren’t originally present. Speed dating participants were asked to engage in the kinds of behaviour that was suspected of building emotional bonds, such as giving small gifts, sharing secrets, and maintaining eye contact during the event, and the results turned out to be startling.
The normal percentage of people who, after finishing a round of speed dating, wish to see one another once more, was found to be around 1 out of every five. However, the group of speed daters asked to employ the psychological tactics reported a success rate of more than double at 45 per cent.
Richard Wiseman, a psychology professor from the University of Hertfordshire, found the findings ‘remarkable’ in that two people who behaved as if there was an attraction between them developed an emotional attachment. Prof Wiseman compared it to the phenomenon of feeling happier from forcing a smile onto your face. The psychology professor said that while research in a similar vein has been carried out in a laboratory environment with students, this new ‘real world’ test is the first of its kind – and the first time where people actually looking for a love connection were used.
Prof Wiseman says that similar techniques could be employed to great effect, up to and including making two people who have never met before fall completely and maddeningly in love with one another.