Sunday, June 20, 2010

Gentlemen, Start Your iPods!

The UK Telegraph reported on a recent research study out of France that looked at the effect of a romantic song versus a "neutral" song on the likelihood of a woman to give out her phone number. Interestingly enough, the study found that a woman gave away her phone number 52% of the time after listening to a romantic song playing in the background but only 28% of the women hearing the non-romantic song in the background gave out their phone numbers.

As a music therapist I often advocate for the power and influence of music on behavior, but I am not sure that this particular research proves anything. Although many of us would argue that romantic music "sets the mood," the results of this French research study probably should not be generalized too far.

First of all, the setting for the research does not transfer well to real world situations. The investigators had each lady sit in a room for five minutes and played one of the two songs. They were then told to go in and talk to the man about the advantages and disadvantages between organic and non-organic cookies! Maybe you could equate this situation with a blind date or the first date through a dating service, but otherwise I don't see how useful the findings of the research will be in real world situations.

The researchers also used a man with "average" looks as selected by a panel of women. I don't know about you, but when was the last time you really knew "what women want?!" We could cut Barnes & Noble to half its size if we had information like that!

Another problem with the study was that the researchers only used two different songs. I think it would be important to test a variety of "romantic" songs and then try to categorize and isolate the common elements of the songs that might characterize "romantic" songs with the power to influence behavior.

And for the American guys, this study is no help at all since the "romantic" song used in the research was a French song by Francis Cabrel. On second thought, my wifes loves Francis Cabrel!...I wonder if I can get her to give me her phone number?...

(Image by: Graeme Weatherston /

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