Want to stack the deck in your favor on your next Tinder date? Pick a bar with background music.
A tiny but compelling new study found that when music played during first-date scenarios, participants' feelings of romance and intimacy were heightened compared to scenarios without background music.
Researchers from Japan’s Aoyama Gakuin University recruited 16 men and 16 women in their late teens and 20s and arranged for them to participate in konkatsu—a Japanese practice known as "marriage hunting," which is like speed dating but waaay more serious.
After being split into two groups, participants went on 20-minute dates with members of the opposite sex, in which they were told to keep the conversations "smooth and amicable" (naturally). For one group, background music played during the dates; for the other, the room was silent.
Before and after each date, researchers asked participants to rate their suitor on 10 different traits, including confidence, likability, and whether they were interested in dating the person. At the end of the experiment, they found that scores for all 10 traits were higher after the dates in which music played. The researchers concluded that background music enhanced attraction and intimacy between the participants.
“The biggest difference between the no-music and with-music conditions is the point that music facilitated the feelings of love for the partner of the opposite sex,” the authors explained.
While much much more research is needed to confirm background music's seemingly magical properties, the study's findings aren't all that surprising: Previous research has shown that music causes our brain to release dopamine—the same “feel good” hormone that’s released when we’re attracted to someone, falling in love, or basically doing anything awesome.
Who needs to put their date through a 36-question survey when there's Spotify?
Taryn Hillin is Fusion's love and sex writer, with a large focus on the science of relationships. She also loves dogs, Bourbon barrel-aged beers and popcorn — not necessarily in that order.