In May 2012, researchers at Israel’s Ruppin Academic Center conducted a Facebook experiment to determine if there is truth to a popular mate selection theory related to music. A year later, Université de Bretagne-Sud researchers conducted a similar experiment. The French researchers’ focus, was to find out if there is truth to the notion that musical ability, makes a man attractive to women in the context of real-life courtship.
Years later, In September 2017, a similar study was conducted by researchers from 2 universities in Austria. This time, their goal was to test whether or not Charles Darwin’s hypothesis is true, which was premised on theory that music directionally points to a person’s biological, rather than physical attractiveness.
Ruppin Academic Center’s Facebook Experiment
Israeli researchers Sigal Tifferet, Ofir Gaziel, and Yoav Baram created two Facebook accounts for an attractive young man, but using a different profile picture for each FB account. One profile pic showed the gorgeous guy holding a guitar, while in the other pic, Mr. Gorgeous was not holding anything.
On each account, the researchers then sent out 50 “Friend Requests” to 100 different female FB users listed as single. The supposedly guitar-playing good looker gained 14 new female friends. In contrast, only 5 accepted the 50 “Friend Requests” sent out via the FB account with a guitarless profile pic.
On a different angle, the same FB experiment was conducted, but this time using a femme fatale as friend requester. The researchers found out that with or without a guitar, both had no direct effect in having the female’s “Friend Request” accepted.
Based on those results, the Israeli researchers concluded that as far as enhancing one’s attractiveness is concerned, an indication of musical ability works only for men.
Université de Bretagne-Sud Sexual Selection Experiment
French researchers Jacques Fischer-Lokou, Nicolas Guéguen and Sébastien Meineri employed a different technique in conducting their experiment. A true-to-life good-looking young man was asked to approach 300 young women on the streets. He played out 3 scenarios, in which he approached 100 women to tell each girl that she is pretty and then ask for their phone number. In each scenario, the young man had either a guitar, a gym bag or nothing at all in his hand.
The results for each were tabulated, showing that 31 percent of the women approached via the guitar-in-hand scenario gave their phone number; the gym-bag-in-hand technique worked only on 9 percent of the women approached. The nothing-at-all fared better, as the technique worked on 14 percent of the women. The experiment concluded that more women are inclined to prefer men with musical ability.
Austrian Universities Conduct a Study to Test Darwin’s Biological Attractiveness Theory
A team of researchers coming from the University of Innsbruck and University of Vienna in Austria worked on a hypothesis posed by Charles Darwin, premised on the theory that music can influence a person’s perception of attractiveness when choosing a potential mate. Sixty-four women and 32 men, all heterosexuals were presented photographs of the opposite sex, whilst exposed to different musical instruments as stimulus.
Based on the results, Dr. Manuela Marin from the University of Innsbruck who carries out researches on Cognitive Psychology, Experimental Psychology and Emotion, and who was leader of the research team, concluded that arousal transfers can occur if 2 types of stimuli are processed one after another. The first stimulus creates internal arousal, which can influence the second stimulus.
“This mostly unconscious mechanism can then influence our actions, in this case, the choice of a partner.”