A German researcher set out to determine if he could make ordinary undergrads more attractive to the opposite sex by teaching them pickup artist techniques. The experiment was a big success, but it also had unintended consequences.
Pickup artist Mystery.
Plenty of pickup artists claim they can turn shy nerds into charming lady's men, but little academic research has been done how well their lessons actually work. Andreas Baranowksi, a PhD student at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, decided to find out. He recruited 17 men and 23 women for a five-to-six hour training session devoted to flirting skills. Much like many pickup artists, the trainers taught their students how to apply evolutionary psychology principles — like, for instance, the idea that women are biologically predisposed to be attracted to men with high social status — to the dating world. They also gave tips on combating anxiety, and on reading body language (also a staple of pickup artistry). Their advice included:
• Use a indirect approach (instead of “I find you attractive,” ask “What band is that?”). This gives women a chance to evaluate you before investing in you.
• When talking to a girl, make her work a bit. We value more the things that are scarce and that we have to work for.
• Use body language to convey high social status. Take up a lot of space with your gestures, talk to your group of friends (instead of hanging around in a corner and looking for girls), and touch others non-reciprocally.
• If you're just looking for sex, you can simply go up and ask — this works in 75% of cases. But if you want a relationship, make the man work a bit, as above.
• Use body language to invite men to talk to you. Men are generally bad at reading body language, though. So show clear signs of interest (like smiling) and do it repeatedly — you may have to show interest up to 12 times to get a man to approach.
• If you're interested in someone, touch that person slightly (don't be overly touchy). Studies show that we like people more when they touch us. Women like it because being comfortable touching women makes men seem higher-status. Men like it because it's a sign of sexual interest.
After delivering these lessons, the trainers sent participants out to practice, giving them assignments ranging from the simple — smile at someone of the opposite sex — to the daunting — ”Be rejected once real hard.”