STORY BY GIULIANA LAMANTIA
In today’s hookup culture, finding love can be a challenge due to a lack of vulnerability with others.
However, a recent study shows it is possible to create intimacy with a stranger by condensing months of getting to know someone into 36 questions followed by four minutes of staring into each other’s eyes.
According to the study by psychologist Arthur Aron and his wife, Elaine Aron, it was not created to intentionally make people fall in love, but rather start friendships and relationships and get people to open up in a new way.
A blog post by Elaine Aron in the Huffington Post states that for the 36-question study to make its participants fall in love, they must go into it truly wanting love.
Drake students tested the theory themselves. With the questions ranging from basic to very personal, from “Who would you want as a dinner guest,” to “Of all the people in your family, whose death would be the most disturbing,” participating in the study was different than students had expected.
Sophomores Jeremy Price and Annie Snyder enjoyed their experience.
However, they anticipated more surface-level questions before participating in the experiment.
“The questions were a lot different than I thought they were going to be,” Snyder said. “They were really deep at some points and wanted you to look very deep.”
Price agreed that some of the questions were surprising.
“It was like, ‘what was the worst memory of your life,’ like what?” Price laughed. “You don’t just ask that to people you don’t really know.”
Before the study they thought it would be ridiculous.
By the end, they saw how it could make people develop feelings for each other, depending upon their answers. At the same time, they realized how it could backfire.
“I think it totally depends on what they say as far as answers go,” Price said. You could totally hate what they have to say or their personality. It can totally turn you off.”
However, they felt conversing with a stranger made it easy for them to open up during some of the more personal questions.
“I think it makes it easier with a stranger, because you don’t know their perceptions and how they’re going to feel about something,” Snyder said.
While Price and Snyder found it an interesting experience, it would not be their choice of trying to get to know somebody.
“At first it seems really unnatural because you don’t usually have that conversation with someone you just met,” Price said. “You get to know them over the months, so it’s interesting.”
Sophomore Michael Dolan and junior Shereen Hunitie also participated in the study. While overall they thought it was a fun experience, they had some trouble answering some of the more personal questions truthfully. One of their main concerns is Drake being a small campus and the likelihood to run into each other.
“If it was someone that I just met that I was never going to see again, I would have maybe answered truthfully, but I’m probably going to see him all the time now,” Hunitie said.
Dolan agreed that the questions were interesting, but some were too intense.
“I think we’re going to pass each other, look at each other and have a weird laugh and pass,” Dolan said.
While the study is meant to get to know another person deeply in a condensed time, Hunitie thought it was an emotional experience as well.
“I felt like it was a really emotionally charged experiment,” Hunitie said. “Some of the questions brought up a lot of emotions, so there was a lot going on at once.”
Even so, the two didn’t want to burden the other with their own emotions or negative parts of their lives.
“The last one where it asks if you have a current problem right now, tell the person about it and they can help you with it,” Dolan said. “Why do you want to put that burden on them, and also how comfortable are you expressing that to someone you don’t know.”
While Hunitie and Dolan thought answering the questions was interesting, they thought the four minutes of eye contact was silly and pointless, and later admitted to not being able to do it for the entire time.
“The first two minutes were awkward because we kept laughing,” Dolan said.
In the end, Hunitie thinks the experiment can benefit people who have an initial connection or attraction to each other. Dolan also believes it can help people who already have a relationship get to know each other on an even deeper level.
“I think two people can have a lot of potential if they’re already pretty aligned in certain aspects and attracted to each other,” Hunities said. “I think that with two opposite people it’s not going to happen, but if they’re closer it can.”