Today Match.com announced its first ever Stir Game Night series featuring 30 game nights across the country for singles to unplug and connect through play. Do games really help singles click? Match.com’s own scientific advisor Dr. Helen Fisher breaks down the real science behind love and games.
Got the dating jitters? Starting a relationship should be fun. So Match.com is inviting members to offline game nights—to get them in the mood.
It’s a good idea—play is oxygen for the mind. It stimulates nerve growth in the brain’s amygdala where we process powerful emotions, as well as parts of the cerebral cortex where you plan and make decisions. Play enhances memory, insight and creativity, and produces laughter—which primes the immune system and improves circulation and muscle tone. With play, our brain waves get in sync, promoting bonding. Play also builds intimacy, trust and empathy, and triggers optimism, energy and motivation. Last, gaming creates “flow”– freedom from time and worry, providing further relaxation.
Play and laughter fertilize the mind. And this instinct evolved long before humanity emerged. Sea lions ride waves. Parrots and wolves play with sticks. Ravens slide down snowy slopes, fly back and slide again. Bison run onto frozen lakes and glide on all fours. Hippos do back flips in the water. Octopuses play with shells. Fish blow bubbles. Stingrays do somersaults. Ants “play-fight.” And this playfulness makes them smarter. Rats raised in an environment enriched of toys, for example, develop a thicker, more developed cerebral cortex.
But play has another perk in humans: it diminishes self-consciousness, revealing your unique personality. So as you game, you learn important things about your gaming partners, as well as express core aspects of yourself. When meeting someone new, you know almost nothing about him or her. Hence, you tend to overweight the morsels of information you can collect. As a result, the “getting to know you” process is full of breaking points, moments that can take on absurd meanings, sending you out the door– alone.
But play revs up the dopamine system, making you more susceptible to romance. And the more you interact with someone, the more you regard this individual as interesting, smart, good looking and similar to yourself. Indeed, if you meet someone with whom you play well now, you might play well together 20 years from now–and lead a happier, healthier, longer life. Those who play together, stay together.
So, a few gaming tips:
- Be playful–people are enchanted by sportive folk.
- Be funny whenever possible–humor is an aphrodisiac.
- Be educated—to excite their minds.
- Be considerate—to soothe their hearts.
- Brag a little—so other gamers get to know some of your best qualities.
- Do unexpected things–because novelty can trigger desire.
- Be true to yourself—because people want to know who you really are.
- And use words and body language smartly—as these tiny bombs detonate in the brain, making deep impressions.
So in the gaming spirit, I’ll share my favorite motto: “We’re here; we’re alive; let’s play.”
Find out more about the Stir Game Night Series and more events happening in your neighborhood by signing onto your Match.com account today. New events for all age groups and cities all over the country are added frequently, so head to the “Events” tab onsite to see where Match.com singles are mingling near you in 2013!