In the pick-up artist community, there is much advertising and hype around "game" systems. These are systems which, as far as I understand, consist of sets of guidelines, advice, strategies, behaviours and exercises aimed at helping men become more successful in their attempts to seduce women.

Many of the advertisers for "game" systems claim that their system has been tested "in the field", that they bring subjective benefits to the practitioners, and that it is scientific fact that the systems work - that the men who learn about them become more successful at seducing women. In this context, I'm wondering:

Is there any evidence that "game" systems advertised and promoted by pickup artists are at all effective?

I'm specifically looking for proof that any one single system (or, failing that, subset of a system) proves subjectively beneficial to its practitioners, or, alternatively, that, in general, such systems are not likely to provide any benefit

For further reference:

"Game" is a specific term, the book The Game seems to be the first public use it, though I assume it's been around for a while longer.

There are thousands of online resources for pick-up artists, the top google search result seems a good place to start to learn about the topic.

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    please pick a concrete example, as such the questions is extremely broad
    – Mad Scientist
    Feb 28, 2011 at 7:11
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    Yes, the question is extremely broad. The only thing I can say at this breadth is that Wiseman has a chapter on scientific evidence for maximizing your dating chances in his book 59 Seconds, and, without having read any of the 'Game' litterature, these advices look nothing like what my understanding of the game is. Feb 28, 2011 at 7:28
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    You could get a dozen different answers for a dozen different systems, which would be the correct one? And I'm not even sure exactly what you're asking here, questions should ususally be longer than one line, it just helps if you provide some context.
    – Mad Scientist
    Feb 28, 2011 at 7:33
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    You know a dating method that's been scientifically proven to work? C14! That'll be all, folks. Feb 28, 2011 at 8:20
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    I've voted to close this question, it is just far too broad adn unspecific, and the results are likely to be subjective. Also, like @Nanne, I don't know what exactly you mean by "game", It really helps to summarize the position we're supposed to evaluate, external links are not sufficient IMHO.
    – Mad Scientist
    Feb 28, 2011 at 17:03

2 Answers 2


Alright, as I referred to in comments earlier, Richard Wiseman has reviewed the scientific literature on attraction in his book 59 Seconds.

One of the bigger things he mentions is a mechanism that seems to me quite like that of conditioning, or mirror neurons, or something weird merge between the two :) Namely this: we are exceptionally good at connecting things, and it turns out that once we've established a connection, it often goes both ways.

Since it has been shown, then, that your pulse races when you're with someone you're attracted to, some researches tested whether or not there's a mental (subconscious, perchance?) link between high pulse and attraction. So they set out to test whether or not completely other things that caused high pulse, could still trigger that same conditioned connection, and it turned out there was some evidence for that: people who went for a horror film during a date, for instance, tended to rate their date as more attractive than those who had went to a romantic comedy.

On a similar note, it seems that if you can get people to tell you really personal things (here, experimenters set up "sharing games" for the test persons to play during their dates, in which they were encouraged to share increasingly personal information, of the kind you might not otherwise share with a somewhat stranger). Turns out that you're more likely to be attracted to people you've shared very personal information with, and the researchers interpret this as being because you otherwise only share that kind of information with people you're very close to, so since you did, that means you must be close to this person, hey?

In speed dating (which would probably transfer to any dating circumstances where you have a limited time to make an impression, such as pub pickup or such), techniques that seemed particularly useful were to mimic (within reason) the other person's body language and expressions, and to get them to talk as much as possible about themselves.

So what have these got to do with The Game? Well, I don't know what the game asserts. If any of the above are mentioned in The Game, then yes, they seem to be vindicated: if not, well, Wiseman is on to some pretty peripheral effects here, and it seems unlikely that he'd miss out on these techniques if there was scientific support for them. For whatever that's worth :)

  • Hi David, please fix this answer when you have time (missing references) :-)
    – Sklivvz
    May 8, 2011 at 21:45
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    @Sklivvz - He's referencing a book, it's in the first sentence.
    – Kit Sunde
    May 9, 2011 at 6:41
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    Sure--maybe referencing books in this format should be better.
    – Sklivvz
    May 9, 2011 at 8:09
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    Sounds alot like the Ben Franklin Effect
    – Stefan
    Aug 7, 2012 at 20:34
  • While this is very interesting, I don't think there is a big overlap with "the game" and similar systems, which are based on various evol.psych. claims, and what is described in this post. What makes "the game" differ from generic dating advice, and what probably makes it alluring is that it goes beyond the political incorrect into a world where women and men are very distinct and where the best moves aren't necessarily those that will make your dating partner happy.
    – Mårten
    Mar 5, 2015 at 12:53

There is a lot of (anedoctical) empirical evidence that the systems as a whole work. But there is no research among users of the method. On the other hand if you pick the single parts of which the methods are composed, there has been a lot of research in this respect.

Let’s assume the methods would work if the single parts work, then yes, there is evidence that the system work.

As you can read in The Dating Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Emerging Science of Human Courtship

it would seem clear that there is in fact a substantive degree of psychological research to support many claims made by the Community.

  • 3
    This answer is rather vague. Rather than have us all read the entire book, can you give some examples of the claims that are back by evidence, and the evidence for them?
    – Oddthinking
    May 16, 2013 at 16:23
  • It’s not a book it’s a short paper. It’s actually a list of examples backed up by other books or papers. Do you really think it’s usefull to you if I take three random examples from the paper and cite them in my answer? If you think it is I may as well edit my answer.
    – gurghet
    May 20, 2013 at 10:36

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