Flirting More Effective on Sunny Days, Study Shows

According to a new study, conducted by Prof Nicolas Guéguen of the University of South Brittany, France, if you are serious about your flirting and hope to get that all important phone number, you’re better off waiting until it’s sunny.

Prof Guéguen, who has previously investigated how wearing red lipstick can increase a waitress’ tips, conducted a study in which an ‘attractive’ 20 year old male approached 18-25 year old women walking alone in the street and asked them for their phone numbers.

The women were solicited on both sunny and cloudy but not rainy days, when the temperature was about the same.

In the past other environmental factors have been found to make people more likely to flirt or exchange phone numbers – the presence of pleasant smells, romantic music or certain colors have all been found to have an effect.

Previous study has also shown how the weather can affect certain social behaviors – sunshine makes people more likely to help strangers or answer a survey, and people tend to leave bigger tips in restaurants on sunny days.

But this is the first study to explore how the weather may influence courtship or dating behavior.

Prof Guéguen found that women were more receptive to being approached and flirted with – and give out their phone numbers – on sunny days: over a fifth – 22.4 percent – of women did so when the Sun was out, as opposed to 13.9 percent on the cloudy days.

“The phone numbers were later used to contact the women and tell them the true nature of the study, as per the recommendation of the ethics committee of the lab which reviewed the project.”

The findings, published in the journal Social Influence, reveal that flirting is more likely to have a positive outcome on sunny days.

But Prof Guéguen was careful to include certain caveats regarding the applicability of the research to everyday situations: “the sunshine or other factors may after all have improved the attractive 20 year old male’s flirting skills on those days. Other atmospheric conditions such as windiness or humidity were not accounted for. And, perhaps most crucially, the research was conducted in France, where men traditionally approach women in romantic relationships.”

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Bibliographic information: Nicolas Guéguen. Weather and courtship behavior: A quasiexperiment with the flirty sunshine. Social Influence, published online January 2, 2013; doi: 10.1080/15534510.2012.752401