Say It With Flowers

People Will Do Basically Whatever You Want as Long as You Give Them Flowers

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Need a favor? Start with a trip to the florist, apparently, because a new French study suggests that a well-chosen rose or two (or 12, who’s counting?) might be the secret to getting what you want.

Building on previous research showing that waitresses with flowers in their hair got better tips than waitresses without flowers in their hair, psychologists from the Universite de Bretagne-Sud had women with and without floral headgear ask random passersby for bus fare. And once again, the flowers have it: people were significantly more likely to hand over the cash if the woman doing the asking wore a barrette with a three-inch artificial rose attached.

Whether this means that people are nice to people with fun hair accessories or people with flowers isn’t totally clear yet, but there’s some reason to believe it’s the rose — and not the barrette — that makes the difference. As the researchers note, this is hardly the first study to show that “exposure to flowers elicits a positive emotion and fosters social relationships.” In 2012, scientists found that drivers are more likely to pick up hitchhikers holding flowers. A 2005 study showed that “people receiving flowers initiate conversation more frequently or stand closer to others than those who did not receive them.” Flowers: they make people happy and very willing to do nice things for you.

So next time you need a little extra goodwill, may science suggest a tasteful bouquet? Lilies are nice — I’d go with lilies — but then again, roses are proven to get you bus fare.

[h/t Pacific Standard]