Pretending that you find someone attractive increases your susceptibility to their charms and heightens your chances of truly falling in love with them, according to new relationship research.
The latest findings suggest that behavior can lead to certain emotions just as much as emotions can lead to behavior, and may offer explanations for the relative success of arranged marriages compared to conventional marriages.
Past research has shown that those in arranged marriages or those who have had their partner chosen for them by a parent or matchmaker, tend to feel more in love over time compared to those in regular marriages who feel less in love as time passes.
Lead researcher psychologist Richard Wiseman tested the theory of the "positive action" technique, which he believes could be used to not only accelerate feelings in new relationships but also rekindle them in older ones, by holding a speed dating night where some of the prospective partners were instructed to act as if they were already in love with each other.
The 100 participants in the study were encouraged to hold hands, gaze into each other's eyes and whisper secrets to each other, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Afterwards, participants were asked about their feelings and found that more than twice the number of those who faked attraction wanted to see each other again compared to the average rate.
Specifically, 45 percent of those who had played the psychological game and acted like they were in love wanted to see each other again compared to only 20 percent of the volunteers under normal speed dating behavior.
Additionally, those who were role playing felt 'closer' to their prospective partners compared to those who didn't on a scale of one to seven.
"This is a remarkable finding," said Professor Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire, according to the Daily Telegraph.
"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," he said. "The assumption was that the emotion leads to the action or behavior but this shows it can happen the other way around, action can lead to emotions."
"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," Wiseman said. "We actually had a problem stopping people. We had go around pulling couples apart."
The findings are published in the professor's new book Rip It Up, which is described as 'ripping up the rule book, where Wiseman will present radical new insights into ways to improve your body and brain.
"Actions are the quickest, easiest and most powerful way to instantly change how you think and feel," he said.