It’s Valentine’s Day, which is the perfect excuse for you to invite the cute guy, or girl, from the marketing department out on a date.

“Oh yes, right you are – what a brilliant idea”, you might think to yourself and decide to turn that idea into reality. Determined, you grab your phone and begin to text the cute guy or girl. But after writing your date’s name, you realise that maybe it is not as easy as you thought it would be, and all that comes to mind is a ton of questions of doubt like: “What should we do?”, “where should we go?” and “what should I wear?”


Keep calm, dear friend! We have been searching the quirky corners of behavioural science in order to assist your love life. The results of our quest for behavioural dating insights have been transformed into our very unique recipe for an extraordinary Valentine’s date. Follow these 5 tips carefully, and we promise you a date you will never forget!


1. Wear red

Whether you are male or female, we are certain that you fancy the red colour. Why? Well, here are the facts: A study by researchers from the University of Rochester found that red serves as an aphrodisiac for men, as the colour is associated with sex and romance. Furthermore, the same researchers found that women thought men wearing red clothes were of higher status.

It is, however, still unclear whether the preference of red originates from biological or cultural reasons. Nonetheless, there is no doubt about which colour you should wear on your date.


2. Keep it simple and cheap

For some, this tip comes as a surprise. For others, a relief. We all know the feeling of taking things up a notch on special occasions, whether that is wearing your favourite fragrance, eating on fancy restaurants or maybe even buying gifts. However, we recommend that you don’t do any of that. Don’t book a table at your favourite, but expensive restaurant and don’t even think of bringing chocolates, wine, flowers or other lovely things for you date. Instead, you should be keeping it simple and subtle.

Research shows that expensive activities at first dates makes you less attractive to a potential partner. This is due to what behavioural scientists refer to as the “overjustification effect”. Usually, when someone is having a good time with you, they will attribute their feelings to you. But when expensive food, fancy wine and lovely gifts are involved in the date, your date will focus on these things and attribute their positive feelings to the food and wine – and not to you! So, even though you might have done your absolute best at showing great interest in your date’s fascination of chia seeds and kombucha tea you might end up letting the lobster getting all the credit for your hard work. A coffee date, on the other hand, is subtle, cheap and doesn’t take the focus away from you. Besides, your wallet will be grateful for coffee and cookies instead of lobster and Chardonnay.

3. Order a hot cup of coffee – or two…

Besides being cheap, coffee also naturally increases your date’s temperature. You are probably wondering why we have given you such an obvious and seemingly irrelevant piece of information. But it is, in fact, quite the opposite.

In an experiment, two scientists showed that temperature can affect your date’s assessment of your personality. In the experiment, participants were asked to judge others’ personalities while holding either a cup of hot tea or a cup of iced coffee in their hands. The results were astonishing. The participants who held a cup of hot tea were more likely to judge the other people’s personalities as warm, whereas participants who held an iced coffee judged other people’s personalities as colder. In the same way, coffee is a brilliant means to weighing up for all your personal flaws and defects. Just make sure you order plenty of coffee for your date to drink, and you won’t ever have to worry about what your date thinks about your personality again.


4. Shout in your date’s right ear

After ordering 2 or 3 coffee pots for you and your date, it’s time to find a nice place to chug it all down. However, when settling down, it is extremely important that you place yourself on the right side of your date. Beyond saving you the unnecessary awkward eye contact, this particular seating gives you the benefit of shouting in your date’s right ear.

A study conducted at a nightclub showed that both men and women are more likely to do what you ask if you shout in their right ear instead of their left. At the same time, the cosy and discrete environment that coffee shops offer, is absolutely perfect for creating the first romantic moments of the date. You could, for example, ask your date for a kiss by shouting it into the person’s ear. But remember, it’s crucial that you do it in the right ear, never the left!


5. Cross a narrow and eerie bridge

So far so good. At this point you have been to a cosy coffee shop, and your date is undoubtedly convinced that you have a warm personality – you may even have kissed a little. Therefore, the time has come to take your date to the next level. All you have to do is scare the bejesus out of him or her. We recommend that you cross a narrow and frightening bridge. This will get the heartbeat up and the blood rushing, which is the exact same feelings we experience when we feel in love. In fact, research shows that it can be very difficult to distinguish between feeling scared and in love.

An experiment conducted on exactly such a bridge showed that participants changed from feeling frightened to feeling attracted to another person present. In the same way, make sure to keep your date close to you as you cross the bridge. We can guarantee you that your date won’t know what hit her or him – other than feeling shot by Cupid’s arrow.


6. Bonus tip: Leave printed photos of yourself at your date’s place

Even after a phenomenal date like this one, we must admit that there still is a slight risk of your date ending up blowing you off. After all, we all know the seemingly endless and unbearable doubt forming questions like “does he / she think of me, just as I think of him / her right now? Or even worse, “has he or she forgotten me in the midst of the daily life’s busyness.”
Fortunately, we have the answer to how you can avoid this sticky situation. All you have to do is simply to make sure your date is constantly reminded of you. The more often, the better. This is due to something researchers refer to as “the mere exposure effect”, which explains how we tend to develop a preference merely for things we are repeatedly exposed to. Thus, our proposed strategy for you is to leave lots of printed images of yourself at your date’s place or other objects that will make that special someone think of you – but be sure to place them in the right places. Places that are impossible to miss, such as, at the coffee machine, the restroom door and in the cereal box are all sure winners. With this strategy, we dare to guarantee you that your date will never forget you. Mission accomplished!

With these words, we have nothing more to say other than – you’re welcome. We hope you will have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and that the two of you live happily ever after.




Elliot, AJ and Niesta, D (2008). Romantic red: red enhances men’s attraction to women. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95; 5: 1150-1164


Elliot, AJ et al (2010). Red, rank, and romance in women viewing men. Journal of Experimental Psychology. General, 139; 3: 399-417


Lepper, M. R., Greene, D., & Nisbett, R. E. (1973). Undermining children’s intrinsic interest with extrinsic reward: A test of the” overjustification” hypothesis. Journal of Personality and social Psychology, 28(1), 129.


Williams, LE and Bargh, JA (2008). Experiencing physical warmth promotes interpersonal warmth. Science 322; 5901: 606-607.


Marzoli, D and Tommasi, L (2009). Side biases in humans (Homo sapiens): three ecological studies on hemispheric asymmetries. Die Naturwissenschaften 96; 9: 1,099-1,106.


Dutton, DG and Aron AP (1974). Some evidence for heightened sexual attraction under conditions of high anxiety. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30; 4: 510-507

Zajonc, R. B. (1968). Attitudinal effects of mere exposure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9(2, Pt.2), 1–27.

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