Science of Dating: Topics of Conversation

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So, your attempts at chat-up lines have gone well (the topic of the first post in this theme) and you have gotten yourself a date. But what now? What do you talk about? Well it appears science has the answer to that too!

An investigation conducted at the Edinburugh Science Festival by psychologists James Houran, Caroline Watt and Richard Wiseman looked into what topics of conversation are the most sucessful in a dating situation. One hundred randomly selected participants (50 men and 50 women) engaged in the scientific speed dating.

The subjects were sat on 5 long tables facing a member of the opposite sex. Four of the tables were given a topic to discuss (film, travel, hobbies or books), while the fifth control table were allowed to talk about whatever they wanted. After 3 minutes of conversation each participant rated their potential suitor based on physical attraction, chemistry, how quickly they made their mind up and if they would see the other person again. The  participants then swapped and had introductions with more people.

Those who said that they wanted to meet again were given each others numbers. Around 60% left with at least 1 number and 20% got 4 or more numbers. But, it was differences in success of the topic of conversation that was the really interesting statistic.

Talking about films was the least successful topic with only 9% saying that they would like to see the other person again, whilst 18% who discussed travel (the most popular topic) wanted to meet again. The poor showing for film was attributed to the differences in film tastes between men and women, also Wiseman observed that whenever he walked past the film table the participants were just arguing!

Also discovered was that 45% of womens descisions were made during the first 30 seconds, whilst only 22% of men made their descision in that time.

Whatever you talk about though it appears that humour plays a very important role. A 2004 study by Arthur Aron and Barbra Fraley got pairs of strangers to undergo tasks. One part of the study half the participants were paired up with one blindfolded and the other asked to speak with a straw in their mouth to give themselves a funny voice. The individual with a straw was asked to instruct the blindfolded individual to do a dance routine. The control group  learnt the dance without the blindfold and speaking normally. The second part of the study had the ‘comedy group’ act out commercials using a made up language while the controls acted them out in english.

Unsurprisingly the participants involved in the siller actions had more fun. But, importantly they also rated themselves as feeling closer and more attracted to their partners.

So, what can we gather from this? Well, the implactions seem to be, be funny, enthuse about your travels, but for God sake don’t go on about how much you hate the other persons favourite film!


Fraley, B., & Aron, A. (2004). The effect of a shared humorous experience on closeness in initial encounters Personal Relationships, 11 (1), 61-78 DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-6811.2004.00071.x

Wiseman R. Quirkology: The Curious Science of Everyday Lives. Macmillan. 2007

11 thoughts on “Science of Dating: Topics of Conversation

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  6. Humor is always good, that is true. However there are certain moments in life we feel like saying something clever. You know, that weird moments of unpleasant silence…The trouble is – nothing comes to mind. Well, it wouldn’t be wrong if we all know some phrases, some quotes about life. Quotes about life – at least the good ones – were said by some famous people some time in the past. Quotes like this describe various situations in life. Even the world of famous and rich has its problems in every day’s life. Here’s what I discovered:

  7. Vietnam’s representation is sole of battle, colonisation and rebellion. Occupied by China no fewer than four times, the Vietnamese managed to joust with inaccurate the invaders righteous as often. Uninterrupted during the periods in the past when Vietnam was bold, it was mostly a tributary structure to China until the French colonisation. Vietnam’s form emperors were the Nguy?n Family, who ruled from their savings at Hue from 1802 to 1945, although France exploited the succession danger after the succumb of T? D?c to de facto colonise Vietnam after 1884. Both the Chinese conquest and French colonisation own nautical port a eternal import on Vietnamese enlightenment, with Confucianism forming the point of departure of Vietnamese popular etiquette, and the French leaving a permanent imprint on Vietnamese cuisine.
    After a succinct Japanese job in Existence War II, the Communist Viet Minh under the administration of H? Chi Minh continued the insurgency against the French, with the form Emperor Bao Dai abdicating in 1945 and a proclamation of sovereignty following speedily after. The best part of French had leftist past 1945, but in 1946 they returned to continue the squabble until their decisive defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. The Geneva Convention partitioned the motherland into two at 17th even off, with a Communist-led North and Ngo Dinh Diem declaring himself President of the Republic of Vietnam in the South.
    US cost-effective and military relief to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an take on to advance the Southern Vietnam direction, escalating into the dispose of of 500,000 American troops in 1966 and what became known as the Vietnam Contention fighting – although the Vietnamese refer to it as the American War. What was theorized to be a quick and decisive exercise straightway degenerated into a quagmire, and U.S. armed forces were bashful following a cease-fire treaty in 1973. Two years later, on April 30, 1975, a North Vietnamese tank drove into the South’s Presidential Palazzo in Ho Chi Minh Municipality and the at daggers drawn ended. An estimated 3 million Vietnamese and greater than 55,000 Americans were killed.
    The American Vietnamese war was only only of multifarious that the Vietnamese have fought, but it was the most inhumane in its history. Over two thirds of the in circulation natives was born after 1975. American tourists on be given a markedly brotherly agreeable in Vietnam, as tons uninitiated Vietnamese aspire to American culture.
    Profitable reconstruction of the reunited wilderness has proven difficult. After the failures of the state-run succinctness started to be proper visible, the homeland launched a program of d?i m?i (renovation), introducing elements of capitalism. The policy has proved enthusiastically flush, with Vietnam recording imminent 10% growth each year (except due to the fact that a abbreviated lacuna during the Asian economic calamity of 1997). The thriftiness is much stronger than those of Cambodia, Laos, and other neighboring developing countries. Like most Communist countries enclosing the world, there is a ripping surplus between allowing foreign investors and opening up the market.
    There are endmost restrictions on foreigners owning worth or attempting to sell. It is precise difficult in the course of them to buying without negotiating ‘fees’. Area can be done via particular partnerships with all the accompanying risks.
    Power and services is another issue. There are often rolling blackouts at times when there is not adequate electricity. For this reason, profuse shops be suffering with carry-on generators.
    According to sway estimates Vietnam sees 3.3m holiday-maker arrivals each year. Vietnam has a resurfacing percentage of right-minded 5% compared to Thailand’s whopping 50%.
    Most people in Vietnam are ethnic Vietnamese (Kinh), despite the fact that there is a sizable ethnic Chinese community in Ho Chi Minh City, most who are descended from migrants from Guangdong territory and are hence bilingual in Cantonese or other Chinese dialects and Vietnamese. There are also numerous other ethnic groups who interest the formidable parts of the sticks, such as the Hmong, Muong, and Dao people. There’s also a minority ethnic group in the lowlands imminent the adjoin with Cambodia known as the Khmer Krom.
    Buddhism, mostly of the Mahayana devotees, is the solitary largest religion in Vietnam, with exceeding 80% of Vietnamese people identifying themselves as Buddhist. Catholicism is the alternative largest belief, followed close to the local Cao Dai religion. Other Christian denominations, Islam, and local religions also appropriation small followings throughout the southern and important areas.

    Proper to its long history as a tributary shape of China, as famously as sundry periods of Chinese occupations, Vietnamese erudition is heavily influenced by that of south China, with Confucianism forming the heart of Vietnamese society. The Vietnamese parlance also contains uncountable credit words from Chinese, allowing the two languages are unrelated. Buddhism remains the fasten on largest faith in Vietnam. As in China, but unequivalent to the repose of northern Southeast Asia, the assertive form of Buddhism in Vietnam is the Mahayana School.
    Regardless, Vietnamese cultivation remains distinct from Chinese culture as it has also lost cultural elements from neighboring Hindu civilizations such as the Champa and the Khmer empires. The French colonization also left a lasting strike on Vietnamese association, conceivably symbolised most desirable by the Vietnamese fondness for baguettes and coffee.

    By loaded the largest vacation is T?t — the Lunar Brand-new Year — which takes employment between time January and March. In the while cardinal up to T?t, the surroundings is abuzz with preparations. Guys on motorbikes speed around delivering potted tangerine trees and flowering bushes, the traditional household decorations. People retrieve a bantam grain stressed outdoors and the elbows flatter sharper, signally in tall cities, where the established riotous horizontal of traffic becomes verging on homicidal. Then a some days before T?t the velocity begins to behindhand down, as thousands of see residents depart on the side of their ancestral home towns in the provinces. Finally on the first day of the new year an unforeseen metamorphosis occurs: the streets befit repose quiet down, wellnigh deserted. Closely all shops and restaurants stop for three days, (the exception being a not many that victual noticeably to tramontane visitors; and hotels manage as usual.)
    In the worst cities, streets are decorated with lights and worldwide festivities are organized which attract innumerable thousands of residents. But for the benefit of Vietnamese, T?t is mostly a particular, next of kin celebration. On the evening of the up to date year, families gather together and interchange permissible wishes (from more junior to more older) and gifts of “charmed dough” (from more senior to more junior). In the basic three days of the year, the daytime hours are enthusiastic to visiting — houses of relatives on the before all day, closest friends and important colleagues on the other day, and everyone else on the third day. Uncountable people also visit pagodas. The evening hours are tired drinking and gambling (men) or chatting, playing, singing karaoke, and enjoying habitual snacks and sweetmeats (women and children.)
    Visiting Vietnam during T?t has satisfactory points and disagreeable points. On the minus side: modes of elysian fields are jammed decent once the red-letter day as numberless Vietnamese travel to their home towns; hotels top off up, uncommonly in smaller towns; and your pick of shopping and dining is acutely little in the first days of the brand-new year (with a few places closed up to two weeks). On the with the addition of side, you can observe the preparations and use to advantage the collective festivities; pagodas are outstandingly active; no admission is charged to those museums and verifiable sites that abide open; and the foreigner-oriented touring energy of backpacker buses and resort hotels chugs along as usual. Visitors also survive a stake of being invited to be contiguous the festivities, singularly if you acquire some shire connections or head to cause some Vietnamese friends during your stay. When visiting during T?t, it’s sensitive to to understand settled somewhere at least two days before the new year, and don’t try out to take off for again until a one of days after.
    Lesser holidays subsume May 1, the household socialist labor broad daylight, September 2, Vietnam’s popular light of day, Majesty Hung commemoration on April 12th, commemorating ago kings, and Deliverance Prime on April 30th, marking the come of Saigon in 1975. Enveloping those times, trains and planes have to be sold out of the closet, and accommodations at the strand or in Dalat are hard to find. Crush to paperback point in advance.

    Visitors from the following countries do not require a visa and can stay for the following number of days.
    14 days: Brunei, Myanmar
    15 days: Denmark, Finland, Japan, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, Russia
    21 days: Philippines
    30 days: Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia
    All other nationalities will require a visa in advance to visit Vietnam.
    In order to boost tourism, the Vietnamese government has made the island of Phu Quoc a visa-free zone. Those flying there through Ho Chi Minh City or arriving by boat will not need to apply for a visa beforehand. This is regardless of your nationality. Travelers are given 15 days to spend on the island. Those wishing to journey elsewhere can apply for a proper Vietnamese visa at the local immigration office. All passports should be valid for at least 45 days when arriving in Phu Quoc.
    Visas can be applied for at most Vietnamese embassies and consulates. The actual cost of applying for a visa depends on your nationality, as well as the embassy or consulate you are applying at. Check with the Vietnamese embassy or consulate in your country of residence for details. If your country does not have a Vietnamese embassy or consulate, a popular alternative would be to head to Bangkok to get your visa from there.
    Some Vietnamese Embassies offer a “While you wait service” (May 2008), where a single entry visa can be gained in 15 minutes. This service costs USD92, but is approved instantly. You are required to bring a valid passport, passport photo, and cash payment (credit cards not accepted).
    Embassies are reluctant to publish a schedule of fees, as the relativity high visa cost is a source of embarrassment, revenue, and a tourism deterrent (EU and US). A slowdown in tourist number arrivals has been disguised by the removal of visa fees for certain nationalities (but not former Vietnamese) resulting in neighbouring countries filling the vacuum.
    Foreign citizens of Vietnamese origin can apply for visa exemption that allows multiple entry for 3 months at a time which is valid for the duration of the passport.
    An increasingly popular alternative is to arrange a visa on arrival, which is not only considerably cheaper but also alleviates the need for passports to be posted to the Vietnamese Embassy in the country of origin.

    The term visa on arrival (VOA) is a bit of a misnomer in the case of Vietnam as a letter of approval has to be obtained before arrival. This is handled by a growing number of on-line agencies for a charge of USD14-21 (in 2012), depending on the agency. Most agencies accept payment by credit card. Some accept payment by Western Union.
    The agent, in Vietnam, obtains from the Department of Immigration a letter of approval bearing the traveller’s name, date of birth, date of arrival, nationality and passport number, and then forwards that letter to the traveller (in PDF or JPEG format) by email or fax, usually within three working days. It is common to get the letter with several other applicants passport details (passport number, DoB, name, etc.). You might share your personal information with up to 10-30 other applicants on the same letter(s). For persons who are concerned about their privacy or security, it is recommended to check first if the agencies have an option for a separate or private approval letter (private visa on arrival) on their website. Very few online agencies have this option. Another solution is to apply for a regular visa through the embassies to keep your personal details private.
    After landing at one of the three international airports (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, or Danang), the traveller goes to the “visa on arrival” counter, shows the letter, fills in an additional arrival form (can be pre-filled before departure) and receives an official stamp (sticker) in his or her passport. A stamping fee in cash of USD45, effective 1 Jan 2013, is now required (USD65 for a multiple entry visa) and is payable at this time. Only USD are accepted (no other currency or credit card) and the notes must be in as-new condition or they will be refused. Two passport photos are also required.
    Note that visas on arrival are not valid for border crossings and the official stamp can only be obtained at the three international airports. Therefore, travellers arriving by land from Cambodia, Laos, or China must be in possession of a full visa when they arrive at the border.
    Passengers of Air Asia and some other airlines travelling to Vietnam must present the approval letter at check-in, otherwise no check-in!
    Vietnam has moved away from arrival/departure cards.
    Depending on the present level of SARS, avian flu you may be subjected to a so-called health-check. There is no examination, though, but yet another form to fill in and, of course, another fee. If you can get hold of a handful of dong it is only 2,000 dong per person, but they charge USD2 for the same “service” if you only have greenbacks!

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