Time Flies When Your Partner Is Cute…At Least for a While

Have you ever had a lunch date that just seemed to fly by? Or a coffee date where you were counting the minutes until you could make an excuse and leave? You might guess that conversing with someone attractive can make a difference in whether or not time seems to drag. However, attractiveness may not play the role you expect!

Researchers tested the role of attractiveness in time-perception with a series of experiments.1 In one of the experiments, strangers were asked to converse freely (unscripted) over Skype, an application that allows text, voice, and video chatting over the Internet. For brevity, we’ll focus only on this Skype experiment below.

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Attractive Girl and a Rich Guy: A Fair Trade or Not?

It feels like something you've seen a thousand times before: a younger attractive woman with an older, wealthy man. But check out the response a woman gets when asking a dating forum how to find a rich guy (click here).  It is a nice example of evolutionary theory, which you can read more about here.


Which Couples Can Fight Intensely and Still Reach Satisfying Resolutions? Relationship Matters Podcast #31

In the 31st installment of SAGE’s Relationship Matters podcast, produced and hosted by Dr. Bjarne Holmes of Champlain College, Dr. Keith Sanford (Baylor University) discusses his recent research on how relationship conflict intensity affects whether or not the couple resolves the topic of that conflict.

The researchers asked 734 couples to focus on a recent conflict and answer questions regarding the types of negative behaviors they engaged in, the intensity of the fight, as well as any type of caring or “soft” emotions they might have used during the disagreement. Couples were also asked about how they currently felt about their relationship, including their current level of ongoing discord, when that discord peaked, and whether they had engaged in any attempts to repair the relationship.

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The Tall and Short of It: Does Height Matter in Dating?

When it comes to heterosexual dating preferences, does partner height matter? Data from online personal ads and a survey indicated that more women than men think height matters (57% to 40%, respectively), and tall women and short men were especially concerned with partners’ heights. Both men and women noted height differences could make physical intimacy difficult, it “felt weird or awkward” being with someone much shorter or taller, and that they had specific ranges for height they found most attractive . Women also noted they felt safer, more secure, and more feminine (because they could wear heels) with taller partners.

Yancey, G., & Emerson, M. O. (in press). Does height Matter? An examination of height preferences in romantic coupling. Journal of Family Issues.


Relationship Science Will Miss HIMYM

How I Met Your Mother has inspired some of our most popular articles over the last few years. In celebration of last night's HIMYM series finale, here's a recap: 



What’s a Parent To Do?: Raising Teens to Having Healthy Relationships

One of the more alarming trends in the adolescent and young adult dating world over the past few decades is the increase in reports of dating violence. Specifically, more than 50% of adolescents with dating experience report some past dating violence, whether as perpetrator or victim.1 Moreover, today’s adolescent dating violence, which often results from conflicts that get out of hand, generally shows no gender bias: both young women and young men are equally likely to perpetrate (and be victims). When it comes to public health issues, the prevalence of teen dating violence is a pretty big deal, which is why the Centers for Disease Control has an entire section of their website dedicated to educating people about healthy teen relationships, and researchers are giving considerable attention to the issue.

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Everybody Needs a Hamster Fart in Their Life

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image source:


Grammarly: An Online Dater’s Secret Weapon

Joe Romance scratches his head. Online dating profile questions are the worst. I never know what to write, he muses. He decides to write just the basics: general hobbies and interests without many distinctive details. His “matches” will be able to tell he’s a good guy, right? Then, he can work on impressing them later, once he connects with someone he really likes.

He taps out the following: I have two dogs. We go jogging in the park every morning. If your a Dog Lover like me, maybe we’ll get along. One’s a Labrador, the others a Dalmatian. And, I like stargazing. I studied Astronomy in highschool and could of been an astonomer. If you want to know how to find Orion in the sky, well I can be your Star Hunter ha ha. Normally I like to go to the observatory alone, it’s kinda my Fortress of Solitude (Superman fan, don’t judge), but for the right person, I’ll make room on my stargazing blanket. I also like concerts and going to the movies.

Satisfied with his self-description, Joe Romance submits his bio, uploads a few photos, and waits for his dating luck to change. Over the next few weeks, his number of profile views goes up, but he only gets a few messages.

What went wrong?

If Joe had thought to use it, leading automated proofreading site Grammarly could have offered a few suggestions. The global service has helped over two billion native and non-native English writers with common grammatical errors, spelling mishaps, and lack of originality through its signature Grammarly Editor. Beyond the automated proofreader’s obvious utility for school assignments and business communication, the folks at Grammarly believed their service could boost its users’ romantic prospects, too, by helping people make good first impressions with their online dating profiles.

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The Grass Is Greener on the Internet: Pornography, Alternatives, and Infidelity

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for that last 20 years, you likely know that the internet is full of pornography. But does exposure to porn hurt your relationships? Although there are conflicting results and plenty of questionable science on this topic (see here for an example), a new study suggests that watching porn may indeed impact certain aspects of relationship quality.1 Specifically, the researchers examined whether exposure to pornographic videos (i.e., the kind of thing you’re most likely to come across on the internet) increases people’s perception of relationship alternatives (read more about alternatives here), which negatively affects relationship quality. 

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The Nose Knows: Detecting Sickness by Scent

image source: injected 8 volunteers with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a molecule found on bacteria that induces a strong “internal” immune response similar to the one that occurs when people are sick (e.g., increases in body temperature and immune cells). The volunteers wore t-shirts to collect their body odor (and also provided t-shirts worn after saline administration, which served as a control condition). A separate group of participants later rated the t-shirts for pleasantness and healthiness. The participants rated the LPS condition t-shirts as more unpleasant and less healthy relative to the ‘normal’ t-shirts. In other words, when we’re sick, we release a funk that tells others to stay away. Follow your nose—it always knows.

Olsson, M. J., Lundström, J. N., Kimball, B. A., Gordon, A. R., et al. (in press). The scent of disease: Human body odor contains an early chemosensory cue of sickness. Psychological Science.


Your First Sexual Experience Happens in a GIF


What Makes Men Good Dancers? (video)


Can We Keep Passion Alive? Relationship Matters Podcast #30

Kicking off the new season, the 30th installment of SAGE’s Relationship Matters podcast, produced and hosted by Dr. Bjarne Holmes of Champlain College, brings you the latest science from the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, translated into practical and applicable knowledge that you can apply to your own relationships. In this season’s premier, Dr. Virgil Sheets (Indiana State University) discusses his recent research on how to keep passionate love alive (and well) in long-term relationships.

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Bullying: It’s Not Just for Kids Anymore

My partner, The Consultant, has a teenage daughter who has recently been the target of bullying at her middle school. For many, the term “bullying” immediately conjures up images of teenagers spreading rumors about each other or stealing young children’s lunch money. Indeed, even defines bullying as “unwanted and aggressive acts exhibited by school-aged children.” However, during my conversations with her about how mean teenage girls can be, I hated to inform her that bullying continues well into adulthood.

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Intimacy and Passion Go Together Like Chocolate and Peanut Butter

image source: laineyslifelessons.blogspot.comIntimacy and passion are two key components of a high-quality relationship. But to what extent are intimacy and passion intertwined? In a recent study, couples reported on their feelings of intimacy (e.g., how much they self-disclosed and felt close to one another) and passion in their relationships each day for three weeks. They also noted whether they had sex each day and if that sex was satisfying. Increases in intimacy over time were associated with higher passion, as well as more frequent and better sex. 

Rubin, H., & Campbell, L. (2012). Day-to-day changes in intimacy predict heightened relationship passion, sexual occurrence, and sexual satisfaction: A dyadic diary analysis. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3, 224-231.


First Kisses...Between Strangers


“I Was Just Kidding!”: How You Should Use Humor During an Argument

Why does humor sometimes defuse tension and bring you closer to your partner but other times leave you back-pedaling and saying, “I was just kidding!”? After observing couples engage in a conflict, researchers determined that the partners of individuals who used more affiliative humor (e.g., funny stories that emphasize the connection between partners) and less aggressive humor (e.g., sarcasm, criticism) felt closer after the discussion, thought the conflict was better resolved, and were more satisfied with their relationships overall.

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Female Adolescents’ First Coitus: Gaining Sexual Experience, Not Just “Losing” Virginity

Taking advantage of a large-scale study in which 14- to 17-year-old adolescent women completed 84 successive days of brief surveys (i.e., “daily diaries”), researchers identified 41 women who reported having sex for the first time during the diary period. The research team assessed how women felt on the day prior to, the day of, and the day after having sexual intercourse for the first time. The women reported greater sexual interest the day just prior to their first intercourse (and on the day of), relative to the day after having sex for the first time, and they reported similarly higher levels of sexual interest on subsequent days on which they had sex (as did their more sexually experienced counterparts in the larger sample).

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Infographic: Your Body, Your Relationship


Girls (and Boys) Gone Wild: Commitment and Infidelity during Spring Break

Infidelity-- cheating, being unfaithful, or what researchers would describe as “couple members’ violations of relationship norms regarding exclusivity”-- clearly can cause negative emotions such as feelings of betrayal, hurt, and jealousy.1 With spring break (at American colleges and universities) just around the corner, we thought it would be a good time to discuss how relationship commitment affects the likelihood of infidelity when partners are geographically separated and tempted by the fruit of another.

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