Recent article from Daily Mail..
Why acting like you are in love can lead to the real thing
PUBLISHED: 11:53, 4 July 2012 | UPDATED: 17:38, 4 July 2012
If you want to feel in love, perhaps you should fake it until you make it.
A new study by leading psychologist Richard Wiseman says that behaving as if you find someone attractive increases your susceptibility to their charms, and increases the likelihood of you falling in love with them.
His study suggests that behaviour can lead to emotions just as much as emotions can lead to behaviour, and may suggest reasons for the relative success of arranged marriages versus conventional marriages.
Separate research suggests those in arranged marriages – or who have had their partner chosen for them by a parent or matchmaker – tend to feel more in love as time grows, whereas those in regular marriages feel less in love over time.
To test the theory of behaviour affecting emotions, Prof Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, held a speed-dating night, where some of the prospective partners were asked to act as though they were already in love with each other.
The 100 volunteers, taking part in the study in Edinburgh, were encouraged to hold hands, gaze into each other’s eyes, and whisper secrets to each other, according to the Daily Telegraph.
When questioned at the end on their feelings, 45 per cent of those who had ‘acted in love’ wanted to see each other again – more than double the average rate of 20 per cent.
Prof Wiseman said: ‘This is a remarkable finding. Just as people feel happier when they force their face into a smile, so pairs of people behaving as if they find one another attractive became emotionally close.
‘The assumption was that the emotion leads to the action or behaviour, but this shows it can happen the other way round.
‘Behaving like you are in love can lead to actually falling in love. People are always going about positive thinking when this suggest positive action is just as valid.
‘We actually had a problem stopping people. We had go around pulling couples apart.’
The results are published tomorrow in Pro Wiseman’s new book, Rip It Up, which is described as ‘ripping up the rule book, psychologist Richard Wiseman presents a radical new insight into your body and brain.
‘Actions are the quickest, easiest and most powerful way to instantly change how you think and feel.’
In seperate research, Har
vard academic Dr Robert Epstein has studied the subject of arranged marriages for eight years, looking at the approaches taken in cultural groups including Indian, Pakistani and Orthodox Jewish.
He has interviewed more than 100 couples in arranged marriages to assess their strength of feeling and studied his findings against more than 30 years of research into love in Western and arranged marriages.
His work suggests that feelings of love in love matches begin to fade by as much as a half in 18 months, whereas the love in the arranged marriages tends to grow gradually, surpassing the love in the unarranged marriages at about the five-year mark.
The connection felt by those in arranged marriages is said to be around twice as strong. Relationship experts claim this is because arranged matches are carefully considered, with thought going into whether potential partners’ families, interests and life goals are compatible.
This means they are more likely to commit for life – and to stick together through rocky patches.
Those who marry for love, on the other hand, tend to be blinded by passion and so overlook these crucial details.
When the going gets tough, they are more likely to view the situation simply as a natural end to their romantic dream – a way of fate telling them something is wrong with the relationship.
With soaring divorce rates and record numbers of single-parent households in the West, researchers suggest it is time to rethink the Western approach to love.
He said: ‘The idea is we must not leave our love lives to chance. We plan our education, our careers and our finances but we’re still uncomfortable with the idea that we should plan our love lives. I do not advocate arranged marriages but I think a lot can be learned from them.
‘In arranged marriages, thought goes into the matching. In the West, physical attraction is important. But people must be able to distinguish lust from love. Strong physical attraction is very dangerous, it can be blinding.
‘In the West marriages are easy to get out of. But in arranged marriages, the commitment is very strong. They get married knowing they won’t leave, so when times are harder – if they face injury or trauma – they don’t run away. It brings them closer.’
Francine Kaye, relationship expert and author of The Divorce Doctor, added: ‘There is an awful lot to be said for arranged marriages. They are determined to make it work.
‘I have seen in arranged marriages in the Orthodox Jewish community that the parents very carefully look at compatibility – it is not left to chance. They do their homework on their characteristics, their values, morals and life goals.
‘It should be pointed out that arranged marriages work because culturally marriage is seen differently. We have a very romantic view of marriage. Theirs is more pragmatic.
‘There is a downside to arranged marriages though – no matter how pragmatic you are in choosing a partner, there always needs to be chemistry.’