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Four minutes to love

four minute stare.jpg

Two BYU-Hawaii students sat down on Feb. 5 to stare straight into each other’s eyes and see if they could fall in love in less than an hour.Over 20 years ago, Dr. Arthur Aron, a psychology professor, made two strangers fall in love in his laboratory. A New York Times writer recently wrote how she and “a university acquaintance” fell in love after doing the experiment. The study starts with two people asking each other 36 progressively personal questions. Once the questions are over, the two look into each other’s eyes for four minutes. Skeptical, yet willing to volunteer for the experiment, Savvi Jensen, a sophomore from Washington, and Johnny Diaz, a senior from the Philippines, asked a select few of the set questions to each other and then gazed into each other’s eyes for the suggested four minutes.When the study was explained to Jensen, she voiced her opinions of simultaneous excitement and suspicion. “I thought it wasn’t true. I mean, how can someone fall in love after only knowing someone for a few minutes and then staring at them? But, I wanted to try it,” said Jensen. Diaz reasoned his way through his doubts. “I think you can control your emotions,” he said. “If you want to fall in love, then you can fall in love. But it will be fun, especially with Valentine’s Day coming up.”The two sat in chairs awaiting the start of the experiment, and Johnny was the first to ask a question. With each question, the couple visibly relaxed and learned more of the other’s past experiences and fears. The questions varied and became increasingly personal.For example, they began with questions such as, “Would you like to be famous? In what way?” and “What is your most treasured memory?” and progressed to “Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.”After the questions had been asked and answered, the two stared into each other’s eyes for four minutes to complete the experiment. They turned their chairs and inched closer to each other, and started the timer. Although this stage for some might be awkward, as they began to reflect upon what was happening, they said they began to feel more comfortable. “That was the longest four minutes of my life, but it wasn’t awkward,” said Jensen. “Just staring into a someone’s eyes who was a stranger for that long – I didn’t know what to do but smile.”Diaz had a similar experience. “The questions built a relationship between the two people. It built a friendly environment and connection,” he said. “In normal circumstances, I would never ask these questions to a person I just met. It was a unique experience. I think I will try this on all my first dates.”Jensen added, “I’d recommend it to a friend looking for love. It is a very interesting experiment. If nothing else, it will definitely change our relationship, even if we don’t fall in love.”Uploaded Feb. 12, 2015
Writer: Trenton McCullough