By Margarita Nahapetyan
If you pretend to be in love with someone and act as if you find them attractive, or otherwise imitate the behaviors associated with being in love, your chances of truly falling in love with that person significantly increase. To this conclusion came British Professor Richard Wiseman, psychologist of the University of Hertfordshire, who published his findings in a new book, titled Rip It Up.
Prof Wiseman says that getting engaged in psychological games can trigger emotional closeness between people. For example, when you act like you are in love, the chances that the other person will find you attractive as well are very high, which in turn, heightens the chances of mutual love to grow. In other words, fake it, until you make it. And to prove it, the psychologist and his team decided to test the theory of the "positive action" technique in experimental speed dating sessions which were set up for more than a hundred participants. Such theory, Wiseman believes, could be used to not only accelerate and boost romantic feelings in new relationships but rekindle them in older ones as well.
During the series of experiments, psychologists asked some of the participants to act as if they already fell in love with their date by staring intensely into each other's eyes, whispering into one another's ears, gently touching hands, presenting small gifts and sharing secrets. Another group of the participants just needed to follow the standard speed dating behaviors.
As a result, what the team found was that those individuals who were asked to fake love and affection were more likely to show interest in meeting with each other again at a later time, when compared with those who did not have to pretend to be in love. In particular, 45 per cent of those who had played the psychological game and acted like they were in love expressed the desire to see each other again, compared to just 20 per cent of the subjects who went through regular speed dating procedures. In addition, on a scale of 1 to 7, people who were role playing reported feeling 'closer' to their prospective partners in comparison to their counterparts who did not fake love.
In his interview to the Daily Telegraph, Professor Wiseman could not hide his excitement, calling his findings remarkable. He explained that when people force their faces into a smile, they feel much happier, and in the same way couples who pretend to find one another attractive become emotionally closer. Faking love and pretending to be attracted to a person can lead to actually falling in love, he said.
Some other research on the matter was done by Harvard academic Dr. Robert Epstein, who has been studying and analyzing arranged marriages for eight years. Through his own investigations Dr. Epstein revealed that when it comes to falling in love, positive thinking can work pretty well. For example, arranged marriages, where spouses initially have to pretend to be in love, are more likely to last longer as the partners fall deeper in love as the time goes on. This is compared to couples who tie the knot after knowing and loving each other for many years, as their feelings gradually decrease as the years go on.
So what is speed dating? Speed dating is a formalized, structured matchmaking process or a dating system that aims to encourage individuals who are looking for love and romance to meet a large number of new people. During the process, men and women are rotated to meet each other over a series of short "dates" which last between three and eight minutes. At the end of each interval, the organizer gives the participants a signal to move on to the next date. At the end of the event participants give the organizers a list of those "dates" who they liked the most and who they would like to provide their contact info to. If there is a match, contact information is being provided to both parties.