VIENNA — The days of personal jukeboxes placed on tables at restaurants may be long gone, but it turns out they might just be the secret to matchmaking, at least for the guys. A new study finds that women are more likely to express interest in men — after they’ve been exposed to music.
Researchers at the University of Innsbruck and the University of Vienna in Austria recruited straight male and female individuals for a study on how music affects the perception of attractiveness.
Participants, split into one of three groups, were presented with excerpts of instrumental songs, meant to elicit a variety of emotions.
Following their listening to the tracks, participants were shown a picture of an individual of the opposite sex, whom they were asked to evaluate both in terms of attractiveness and whether they were a suitable dating partner.
Those in the study’s control group, on the other hand, were exposed to the faces of potential partners sans accompanying tunes.
Overall, women exposed to music were more willing to rate men favorably in terms of attraction and suitability based on their facial features, regardless of where they currently were in their fertility cycle.
This finding, however, did not also apply to men evaluating women.
“There is some evidence in the psychological literature that so-called arousal transfer effects can occur if two stimuli are processed consecutively. The processing of the first stimulus produces internal arousal, i.e. increased physiological activity, which is then attributed to the second stimulus. This mostly unconscious mechanism can then influence our actions, in this case, the choice of a partner,” says lead researcher Manuela Marin in a news release.
Many theorists, including Darwin, have posited that musical ability has played an evolutionary role in allowing one to showcase their motor and cognitive aptitudes, allowing them to appear to be more suitable mates.
Hoping to replicate these findings in a bigger sample size, researcher Bruno Gingras notes that he and his team “would like to clarify whether musical abilities and creativity can compensate partially for deficiencies in terms of physical appearance and fitness” in future research.
They hope to incorporate not only Darwin’s theory of music into further inquiry, but competing biological and sociological theories.
Other essential roles that music plays in interpersonal interaction, such as its function in promoting social cohesion and mother-child bonding, would also be considered.
The study’s findings were published this month in the journal PLOS ONE.