6 Ways to Charm Your Partner with Behavioral Science This Valentine’s Day

By Maura Farver and Stephanie Tepper

 

Who said behavioral scientists aren’t charming and romantic? Here are some behavioral principles we’ve translated into V-day tips to spice up your love life – use them at your own risk.

 

1. Misattribution of arousal: Looking to liven up a mundane relationship? Rekindle your partner’s arousal by taking them on a romantic stroll across your local suspension bridge. They’ll be sure to mistake their rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath for intense physical attraction.

2. Mere exposure effect: If you’re dating someone new this Valentine’s Day, it’s important to give them a subtle hint that you’d like to take things to the next level. Try placing photos of yourself around their home to make sure they’re thinking about you even more than any of their other potential suitors.

3. IKEA effect: Nothing makes us appreciate an item more than when we built it with our own blood, sweat, and tears. With that in mind, have your partner make their own dinner tonight. This way they’ll be sure to fully appreciate the effort and highly value the completed meal.

4. Anchoring: Set your partner’s expectations extremely low, so when you do something sort-of nice for them, it feels fantastic! Tell them you’re going to Taco Bell for dinner, and then treat them Chili’s instead – or tell them you’re boycotting Valentine’s Day altogether, so then any departure at all feels like a wonderful gift.

5. Reciprocity: Give your significant other something really nice early on in the day, so then if they haven’t gotten you a very good gift, they’ll feel indebted to you (and will still have time to upgrade your gift before the day is out.)

6. Relativity: Be sure to find out what your partner’s friends are doing for Valentine’s Day, and then make your plan slightly more elaborate, or gift slightly bigger. Even better, keep referencing the lousy gifts and plans of friends to make yours look great in comparison.

 

NOTE: CAH will not be held responsibility for your partner’s reactions to these tips. Proceed at your own risk.

 

(If it goes smashingly well, though, please let us know.)