UK (BBN)- Music might just be the food of love, a study found.
Feelings of interest and attraction among single men and women increased significantly if music was playing in the background at their first meeting compared with no music, according to a report in the current issue of Psychology of Music.
Impressions of other character traits, such as openness and friendliness, also got higher ratings with background music, reports The Wall Street Journal.
First conversations are important and often indicate if a couple has a future relationship, the study said.
Music affects neurochemical systems in the brain that may enhance the interpersonal impressions formed during those conversations, it said.
Japanese scientists recruited 32 students, 16 men and 16 women in their early 20s, for the study, which simulated a Japanese gokon party for konkatsu, or finding a marriage partner.
Half were assigned to experiments with music and half without music.
Four additional students, two men and two women who were not known to the subjects, acted as visitors.
The experiments were conducted at two tables, each with two male and two female subjects and two opposite-sex visitors who sat and talked informally.
After about 20 minutes, the visitors switched tables and conversed with four new subjects.
In the music experiments, which were conducted separately, selections of rock, rap and classical music played from a small speaker on the table as visitors entered and left the room, and during the conversations.
Subjects in both groups rated 10 traits to describe their impression of the opposite-sex visitors, including confidence, patience, likableness and interest in dating, before and after the meetings.
The experiment was repeated twice for both groups.
Average scores for all 10 traits were higher after conversations with music compared with no music, suggesting the music increased the participants’ feelings of attraction for the visitors, the researchers said.
Likableness and interest in dating the person saw the greatest increases when accompanied by music.
Conversations without music also resulted in higher scores for most of the 10 traits, though the increase was less significant than with the music groups.
Caveat- Music may have altered the guests’ behavior and made them more charming, the researchers said.
Potentially stronger effects might occur if subjects chose their own music, they said.
Title- Effects of background music on young Japanese adults’ impressions of opposite-sex conversation partners

BBN/SK/AD-5Feb15-1:10pm (BST)