Bald may or may not be beautiful, but it definitely is manly according to recent research.1 Participants were asked to rate photographs of men who either had a full head of hair or a shaven head (the hair was digitally edited away). The bald versions of men were consistently rated as more dominant than the men with full locks. The men with shaved scalps were also perceived as taller, older, and stronger, but less attractive, than their full-haired counterparts. Consistent with prior findings, participants rated men with thinning hair least favorably on all attributes.
Let’s play a quick word association game – read each word or phrase below and say the first thing that comes to mind. Here we go….
The Glass is Half: ?
Bondage-Discipline, Dominance-Submission, Sadism-Masochism: ?
Research from Finland examined characteristics of male dance moves (e.g., hip-wiggle, hip-knee phase angle). The only factor related to females' ratings of male sensuality was "downforce," (which may or may not relate to "dropping it like it is hot") or the 'bounciness' of his dance moves. So unless Mick dances with incredible downforce, he's probably not that appealing...
I am confused and find it hard to accept social media. I wanted to know [if it] is ok for my boyfriend to like photos of other girls and follow other women on Instagram. Is that pushing the limits in a relationship?
Thank you for your question. Research on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is relatively new. There are, however, some recent studies that can directly answer your question.
Our own Dr. Amy Muise published a study finding that social network use (e.g., Facebook) can promote jealousy in relationships, because you are exposed to ambiguous information about your partner’s behaviors.1 In your case, you don’t have a clear picture of your partner’s motives for following other women on Instagram. Therefore, this ambiguity leads to perceptions that his behaviors are a threat to the stability of your relationship.
As relationship scientists, we hear a lot of ideas and opinions about the inner-workings of relationships and the people that comprise them. Perhaps some of the more interesting "ideas" (if you can call them that) come from folks whose antiquted notions about the roles of men and women continue to astonish even the likes of Fred Flintstone. Here's the Fox News team making it clear that the continued strides women have made in the realm of economic opportunities spells certain doom for humanity....
Yes, they really said that.
While writing last week’s article about the importance of sex in relationships, I started thinking about the taboo nature of sex in North American culture. In the article I mentioned that “North America is arguably a highly sexualized culture, but at the same time, sexuality is rarely talked about in an open, honest way.” Around the time I posted my article, I came across a TED talk that presents a simple way to alter the stigma associated with talking about sex and sexuality.
Partners’ level of similarity in their values, backgrounds, and life goals promotes attraction and relationship success. Although “birds of a feather” may flock together, do those similarly-feathered birds always have the best relationships over the long flight ahead? Recent research on self-control suggests that the answer is both yes and no.
Ladies, would a guy’s car influence whether you give him your number? In a recent study, male confederates (guys in cahoots with the researchers) approached over 500 young women who were walking in a city. To test whether a males’ car affected women’s likelihood of sharing their digits, the male confederates waited in one of three cars (high, medium, or low value) before getting out and approaching the women. Men with a high status car were more likely to get a number (23.3%) than men with middle (12.8%) or low status cars (7.8%). Apparently women use the car that a guy drives as a clue to his income, his status, and to whether he is worth dating.
Guéguen, N., & Lamy, L. (2012). Men’s social status and attractiveness: Women’s receptivity to men’s date requests. Swiss Journal of Psychology/Schweizerische Zeitschrift Für Psychologie/Revue Suisse De Psychologie, 71(3), 157-160. doi:10.1024/1421-0185/a000083
In a past article Dr. Dylan Selterman wrote about research that has identified 237 different reasons that people give for having sex. I wonder if this list is based on that research? (from amazon.com)
In a study of 70 undergraduates, researchers tested whether attractiveness and mating strategy (short vs. long term) influence receptivity to pick-up lines. Replicating previous research, women preferred men who took the innocuous “Do you have the time?” route, or those who used direct pick-up lines – e.g., “…I’d like to meet you. What’s your name?” Cute or flippant lines -- “Can I get a picture of you so I can show Santa what I want for Christmas?” -- continued to strike out. But women preferred attractive men for short-term relationships, regardless of the type of pick-up line he used. For long-term relationships, women preferred men who used direct or innocuous lines. Even though flippant lines made men seem outgoing and humorous, they also made them seem less trustworthy and less intelligent. Men who used direct lines were seen as the most trustworthy and intelligent.
Senko, C., & Fyffe, V. (2010). An evolutionary perspective on effective vs. ineffective pick-up lines. Journal of Social Psychology, 150(6), 648-667. doi:10.1080/00224540903365539
Last season on How I Met Your Mother, Robin shared a sagely perspective with Ted during a friend’s wedding. She suggested any relationship requires two essential ingredients: “chemistry” (meaning, how compatible people are with each other), and “timing” (basically, whether people meet each other at the right place, right time). As I heard this, I immediately thought how perfectly that sentiment meshes with relationship science.
Scientific American recently reviewed research by Dr. John Gottman and colleagues within the context of Kim Kardashian and her short-lived marriage to Kris Humphries. Gottman's research team can predict divorce with great accuracy by carefully watching short video clips of couples discussing areas of conflict. If given the opportunity, would they have seen the markers of Kim and Kris' marital demise? See more at Scientific American here.
Can you accurately predict how bad you’d feel if your relationship breaks up? To study this question, researchers asked undergraduates to predict how they’d feel if their current relationship ended. Then the research team tracked the undergraduates over several months and waited for those relationships to break-up. The researchers then asked the same participants how they actually felt now that their relationships were over. Turns out people overestimate how bad they will feel following a break-up, especially those who are in love. So if you’re staying in a relationship because you think the break-up will be awful and devastating, you should realize that it may not be so bad. This is especially true if you’re in a bad or abusive relationship (read more here).
Eastwick, P. W., Finkel, E. J., Krishnamurti, T., & Loewenstein, G. (2008). Mispredicting distress following romantic breakup: Revealing the time course of the affective forecasting error. Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology, 44(3), 800-807. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2007.07.001
People often think that successful people are attractive. But what about their less successful counterparts? Are they destined to be seen as less attractive? In a study involving hypothetical job applicants, those candidates described as being “underdogs” -- i.e., they were unlikely to get a particular job due to unfair circumstances beyond their control (e.g., their application had been misplaced by a secretary) -- were rated as especially physically attractive and desirable to date compared to candidates who were (a) unfairly advantaged (i.e., had a friend pressuring the employer to hire them) or (b) were unlikely to get the job due to their own incompetence (i.e., they failed to follow directions on the job application). That’s right…being an underdog can be hot if your failures are not your own fault.
I love making up a good acronym as much as the next relationship researcher, and today I’ve invented one about the top three predictors of a successful relationship: PICL*.
Men’s fascination with women’s butts and breasts is well known. They will often debate the qualities of each feature when together in a locker room or at a bar. But did you know there is actually empirical research on whether men prefer booty or boobs?
In a series of studies, researchers at the University of Buenos Aires recently looked at heterosexual men’s preferences for women’s breasts or women’s butts.
As a parent, how much should you help pay for your child's college education? How much should you help with their homework? The parent-child relationship is based on parent's helping their child. But sometimes parents can help too much. A recent article in the New York Times examines "helicopter parents" and how parents can help so much, that it actually hurts the child.