Hormones, pheromones, biology, upbringing, compatibility, scent and physical attraction are just a few of the numerous reasons people say they fell in love with each other. It is a topic that has fascinated everybody from scholars and scientists to poets and artists as they search for the truth behind this powerful emotion.
Like Personal Growth on Facebook
Some people think it is a choice, while others chalk it up to destiny. However, one psychologist believes that falling in love is as easy as answering 36 very specific questions along with somebody else.
According to the study, after the questions are completed, the two people must also stare into each other’s eyes for four minutes. But is falling in love really that easy? Will the mere act of asking questions and sustaining eye contact create intimacy amongst people who are complete strangers?
The study was set up to take place over a 45-minute period and is designed for the people to carry out self-disclosure as well as relationship-building tasks. While the questions start out innocent enough, they are also designed to gradually escalate in intensity.
Starting Off Relatively Easy
The first set consists of 12 different questions that start out with mundane topics, such as whom you would want as a dinner guest if you could pick anyone in the world and what your “perfect” day would constitute. You are also required to explain what in your life you feel the most grateful for and what you would change about the way you were raised.
However, by question 11, you have to take four minutes to tell your life story in as much detail as possible to your partner. According to one of the researchers who worked on the questions, they were designed to gradually increase the back-and-forth self-disclosure that takes place between a couple.
Of course, it is also very important that both people who take part in the self-disclosure are being responsive to what the other person is saying.
Opening Up A Little Bit More
By the second set of 12 questions, things become even more personal and require the couple to share information with each other that one does not generally divulge to strangers. To answer these questions, you have to share your most treasured memory, your most terrible memory, the meaning of friendship to you and even how you feel about your relationship with your mother.
One of the questions challenges you to share a total of five positive characteristics that you see in your partner. These are definitely not things that typically come up in a conversation with a stranger or even somebody you meet for a first date. This means you are forced to be more honest and open with your partner, causing a bond to form.
Getting To The Really Tough Questions
The final set of 12 questions features a couple of intensely personal questions that will really let the two people participating get to know each other. In fact, one of the questions prompt you to tell your partner what you like about them and specify things that you might not say to somebody who you have only just met.
Other questions include sharing an embarrassing moment in your life, what it is you find too serious to be joked about, and even when you last cried in front of another person or by yourself. There is even a question about whose death of all the people in your family you would find the most disturbing.
The final question requires you to share a personal problem and then ask your partner how he or she would handle it.
The Purpose Of The Questions
What these questions accomplish – provided that both people taking part answer them honesty and openly – is the creation of an atmosphere of mutual vulnerability. It also creates intimacy, which is one of the things that romantic relationships require to thrive.
Some of these questions reveal things about a person that can take months to learn under normal circumstances, along with some information that is never divulged at all. Sharing your deepest hopes, worries and dreams with another person is an intensely personal experience, which is why the questions are able to invoke such powerful emotions.
The whole exchange can be very awkward initially, especially when it’s being done with a total stranger, as the focus is on information that is quite intimate for a first date. However, by the end of the questions, people often end up saying that they feel like they know their partner better than anyone else.
Many people are also taken aback by just how much they have in common with the other person and how refreshing it is to have an open and honest conversation with someone.
When All The Talking Ends
Perhaps the most daunting aspect of the whole experience is the four minutes that must be spent looking into the eyes of your partner. To put it into perspective, four minutes is enough time to take a quick shower, make your bed or listen to an entire song.
In fact, people in general only tend to look at each other for 30 to 60 percent of the time while talking, according to the findings of Harvard psychologist Zick Rubin.
In a study, he found that people who are deeply in love tend to look into each other’s eyes way more often than those who are not. These couples also tend to look away slower from each other when interrupted by somebody else.
Some studies have even found that prolonged eye contact can result in the brain activity of the two participants synchronizing. Just don’t stare into the other person’s eyes for too long or you might just end up experiencing hallucinations, as found in a study conducted by an Italian psychologist.
The Bottom Line
While these questions might not provide an instant path to falling in love and finding happiness, they certainly have a measurable effect on the way people feel about each other. The doctor who set up the test stated that the goal was simply to develop a temporary feeling of closeness between two people and not an ongoing relationship.
On the other hand, not only did two of the participants in the original study end up falling in love and getting married six months later, but so did a university professor who tried the experiment with an acquaintance many years later.
Of course, due to their very nature, these questions require the participation of somebody who is ready and willing to at least entertain the possibility of finding a good match in their partner. Whether answering the questions truthfully is the only push required to tumble into romance is debatable, but there is nothing to lose by trying.