Clinical psychologist and guest contributor, Dr. David Sbarra, recently wrote a great piece on how "Our Brains are Built for Friendship". Follow this link for the full story over on YouBeauty.com.
image source: sarahrosecav.wordpress.com
A recent Twitter post by Nathan Fielder asked his followers to text their partners and say “I haven’t been fully honest with you.” If that isn’t anxiety provoking enough, they also weren’t supposed to respond to any reply sent by their partner for one hour. Not only is this a brilliant comedic premise, but it also provides a great example of an “interpersonal dilemma.” Interpersonal dilemmas are situations where people face competing motives such that they can either respond in a way that harms the relationship or in a way that benefits the relationship.
Guess who is numero uno? That's right, in rankings published yesterday, DatingAdvice.com named www.ScienceOfRelationships.com one of the year's "10 Best Relationship Blogs."
Does internet dating really work?
The answer to your question really lies in how you define “work.” If your goal is to meet new dating partners, then on-line dating services can help put you in touch with a large number of other eligible singles. Services like Plentyoffish.com and Match.com have a large pool of individuals looking to date, hook-up, and marry. The problem is that there are oftentimes so many profiles to sort through that the choices are overwhelming, which causes you to miss out on people who actually might be good matches.
Other dating services, such as eHarmony, propose that matching dating partners based on similarity will lead to better pairings. They accomplish this (allegedly) by analyzing responses to a lengthy survey using a proprietary algorithm, or in less fancy terms, a formula they use make money (consider it the KFC secret recipe of matching partners). In another SoR story, Paul Eastwick wrote a summary of a paper he co-authored,1 essentially showing that the algorithms used to match people don’t work the way that they are supposed to, and you are no better off relying on the matches made for you than if you were just meeting someone cold in the library or at a sporting event. He and his co-authors recommend that dating sites change the algorithms to match on factors demonstrated by research to be more effective at predicting long-term compatibility.
After a breakup, should you wallow in your misery by listening to sad music, or should you try to lift your spirits by listening to happy music? Across three experiments, people who had recently experienced interpersonal loss, like a breakup, preferred music that reinforced their current mood (sadness) rather than elevated it.1 For example, in their third study, the researchers randomly assigned half of the participants to write about an interpersonal loss, like a lost love, breakup, or death of a loved one, while the other half of participants wrote about a non-interpersonal loss (like an academic or career-related loss). After thinking about a non-interpersonal loss, people preferred cheerful music (click here for a feel-good tune), but following interpersonal losses, participants preferred sad music (click here if you were just dumped). So it seems that sometimes we use music to raise our spirits, but when it comes to breakups and lost relationships, we surround ourselves with more sadness.
Read more about music and relationships here:
- "Soul Meets Body" - How Music and Relationships are Connected
- I Need to See Your iPod Before We Can Go Out
- The Music of Relationships
Interested in learning more about relationships? Click here for other topics on Science of Relationships. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get our articles delivered directly to your NewsFeed.
1Lee, C. J., Andrade, E. B., & Palmer, S. E. (in press). Interpersonal relationships and preferences for mood-congruence in aesthetic experiences. Journal of Consumer Research.
Most people will tell you that a woman's ability to get pregnant declines considerably after age 30. After age 35? Thank goodness for fertility clinics! But are these beliefs justified by the data? Turns out the link between female age and fertility isn't as clear-cut as some would have you believe. In a fascinating new article published in The Atlantic, social psychologist Jean Twenge breaks down what the data do -- and don't --- tell us about female fertility across the life-cycle. Yet another example of how it is important to rely on science, rather than prevailing public opinion, when making key life decisions.
Several years ago I received a Facebook message from a stranger. After exchanging a few innocuous messages with him, he invited me to lunch and—partly because I was recently single, partly because I had never gone on a formal date with someone I met online, and partly because I enjoy the excitement of a potential kidnapping—I agreed. Over the course of the meal he peppered me with a series of questions that I thought were somewhat atypical for a first date (“How many children do you want?” “How soon can I meet your family?”). Eventually, I set my fork down and said, “Not to be rude or anything, but it feels like you’re auditioning me to be your wife.” He shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Kind of, yeah.”
Despite my adventurous spirit, I had enough sense to not marry the guy. But a growing number of individuals are meeting their future spouses online. In fact, results of a recent nationally representative study suggest that over one-third of individuals who married between 2005 and 2012 originally met their partners on the Internet.1 What is particularly compelling about this study, however, is that it tackled a previously overlooked question that many dating websites (e.g., eHarmony) claim to know the answer to: Do individuals who meet their partners online or offline have more successful marriages?
If your relationship doesn't have chemistry or has lost it's spark, check out this post on rekindling the romance.
Image Source: George Takei's Facebook
Someone innocently created a chart so that people could determine how common their birthday is (click here to see that chart). Then someone came along and thought, "huh, what if I shift all of those dates by 9 months?" Thus, through the magic of the internet, there is now a chart depicting the most common dates for people to make babies.
Click here for our article about the seasons when people have the most sex (not necessarily for the purposes of procreation).
image source: ilovecharts.tumblr.com
The sexual double standard refers to the general perception that males who engage in casual sexual exploits are studs whereas women who do the same are sluts. Where does this double standard come from? Past work pinned it on females, who are responsible for protecting their "mate value" in the "mating marketplace." However, new research by Dr. Laurie Rudman, Janell Fetterolf, and Dr. Diana Sanchez (Rutgers University) indicates that male's perceptions of sexually permissive women are the primary contributor to this persistent sexual double standard.
Talking about one’s sexual history is an important part of new partners’ communication with each other. After all, they say that you’re not only having sex with this new person, but with everyone he or she has had sex with too (sort of a “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” game with a sexual twist). But how do you know your partner is being truthful when informing you that he or she has had three, thirteen, thirty, or three hundred past partners? People certainly have reasons for being less than honest (like you don’t want others to judge you based on your busy, or not so busy, bedroom), so when they self-report about their sexual behaviors, how do we know they are not lying? People often fudge their responses about things like how much they recycle and go to the gym because those lies make them look better, and researchers need ways to get participants to tell the truth when reporting about all sorts of “socially desirable” behaviors.
What do you know about polyamory? Can polyamory or open relationships really work?
This is a timely question, as there has been a surge of interest lately on this topic. In fact, according to a recent study, between 4-5% of Americans report being in a consensual, non-monogamous relationship—this is when both partners agree that they and/or their intimate partner(s) can have other sexual or romantic partners as well.1 Consensual non-monogamy describes many types of relationships, such as swinging (recreational sex with others) and polyamorous relationships, where the partners consent to each other having intimate, loving relationships with others (more intimate than just an “open” relationship). Researchers (including me) are starting to explore how theories we have about intimate relationships extend to our understanding of relationships that include more than two people. There is not a lot of work yet on non-monogamy, but we can look to a paper that Dr. Terri Conley and colleagues recently wrote challenging assumptions about the benefits of monogamy.2
What happens when something is only available for a short period of time or exists in limited quantities? We want it. Badly. That’s why advertisements and infomercials are always telling you to “act now, before time runs out” if you want to get your hands on the latest, overpriced, completely unnecessary product they’re selling. However, the illusion of scarcity and its effects are not unique to the world of business—scarcity may also affect how we perceive potential sexual and romantic partners. As some evidence of this, consider a classic study on the so-called “closing time effect,” or the idea that everyone gets better looking when the bar is about to close because the window of opportunity for finding someone to take home dwindles.
"Can you calculate your odds of finding that special someone? Or maybe many special someones?"
In this big wide world, is your chance of finding that special someone really "one in a million?" Skip to 2:10 of this clip to see how math informs your relationship odds..."
I've been in a relationship for over 5 years. We are both still young and plan to get married eventually in the future. I was wondering if there are any down sides in having long-term relationships. I feel very secure and confident in our relationship, but just as I've heard that short relationships (or courtships) can be a bad thing, I'm wondering if it works the same for long lasting relationships? -- V.N.
You have an app on your smartphone for the weather, the news, where to eat, and one just for crushing candy. So why not an app for dating? Finding people on your own at a bar probably hasn’t been terribly successful, so it may be time to let your phone help you find a little love (or perhaps lust). Let’s see how they stack up compared to the scientific literature…
1) Snapchat (iTunes)
What the App Does: Allows users to take a picture and send it to someone else. The interesting aspect of Snapchat, however, is that it allows you to set how long others are able to see your photo. Only want the other person to see the picture for 3 seconds? 10 seconds? Then you can set the timer accordingly. So why is this a dating app? Well, it has become the social media sexting app of choice because the pictures “self destruct,” leaving behind no evidence (that is, unless someone is quick enough to take a screen shot!).
What Science Says: A few seconds to view a picture (innocent or otherwise) may not seem like enough time to form an accurate judgment.
Your relationship has been going well for the past few weeks, but you probably catch yourself wondering, “Where is this relationship going? Will we still be together in a year?” Until someone invents a relationship crystal ball (Apple should really get on that), you either have to figure it out for yourself or ask your friends and family for their opinion. Of these options, who will have the best insight?