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Monday
Feb042013

Valentine’s Day Cards through the Lens of Science

If you plan on getting someone a gift for Valentine’s Day, chances are that a card is part of the package. Whether the card is the only thing you get your Valentine, or if it accompanies jewelry, roses, or chocolates, you probably will spend some time thinking about the card’s message. 

But what do these cards really say? And more importantly, are they saying things that are scientifically factual? To answer these questions, I went out to the local supermarket to see what I could find.

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Sunday
Feb032013

We All Make Bad Choices Sometimes

Saturday
Feb022013

Week(s) in Review: 27 January - 2 February 2013

Saturday
Feb022013

A Date for Valentine's Day

image source: funnymeme.com

Saturday
Feb022013

February is Relationship Science Month

February is a busy time of the year for relationship researchers, and we've been working hard in preparation for our annual Valentine's Day blitz. In fact, over the next couple of weeks we will transform The Science of Relationships into The Science of Valentine's Day. Keep an eye out for science-based articles on the following Valentine's Day topics (in no particular order):
  • How to improve your relationship this Valentine's Day
  • Are Valentine's Day card messages supported by science?
  • Why you should keep your Valentine's Day date warm and heavy
  • Should you dress in red on Valentine's Day?
  • How to make the most of your senses on Valentine's Day
  • Why are people motivated to give gifts to their partners on Valentine's Day? (hint: it's not just to get sex)
  • Get your Facebook profile ready for Valentine's Day
  • Valentine's Day gifts: He said/she said
  • How is Valentine's Day celebrated in China?
  • Need a Tip For a Sexual Position This Valentine's Day? You've come to the right place.
  • Is candy a good Valentine's Day present?
  • Tips for single people on Valentine's Day
  • Does buying a crappy Valentine's Day gift for your partner hurt (or help) your relationship?
  • Is your relationship at risk this Valentine's Day?
  • How do same-sex couples view Valentine's Day?
Thursday
Jan312013

"Relationship Matters": The Official Podcast Series of JSPR

We're excited to announce that we've partnered with SAGE publications to bring you "Relationship Matters", the official podcast series of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, produced by Dr. Bjarne Holmes. You can listen to the podcasts and download FREE .pdfs of the journal articles featured here.

Thursday
Jan312013

After the Breakup: Who’s Through and Who Pursues

When I told my ex-husband that I wanted a divorce, I knew that it would not be easy to overcome the legal and logistical hurdles that would inevitably follow. But I was eager to tend to my emotional bruises and move on to whatever else life had to offer. My ex-husband, on the other hand, was not ready to let our relationship—or me—disappear quietly into the night. Months after I filed the paperwork and I had moved across town into a small, one-bedroom apartment, he continued to pressure me to give our relationship another chance. He sent dozens of texts and emails declaring his undying love. I awoke one morning to him banging on my door, asking me to comfort him. He left a (gaudy) handpicked bouquet of flowers at my office. Most recently, I opened my front door and literally stumbled over a container full of leftover food and a $500 winning lottery ticket (okay, so I kept the lottery ticket). These events took place so frequently that, for a while, I was genuinely scared to leave my apartment, lest I run into him or another “gift” that he left for me.

My situation is not unique. Unwanted pursuit behaviors—which include relatively innocuous behaviors, such as gift-giving or exaggerated displays of affection, as well as more serious types of intrusions, such as stalking or threats of physical violence—occur relatively frequently following relationship breakups.

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Wednesday
Jan302013

Pucker Up: What Women’s Lips Say About Their Orgasm

If you have spent any time at all on the Internet, you’ve seen pictures of girls making a flirty, lips pushed out expression, or what has come to be known as the "duck face." Those who make this face in pictures may be doing so to emulate Kim Kardashian or because they think it makes them look more attractive. Clearly, women who "duck face" are trying to emphasize their lips, which according to scientists reveals quite a bit of information.

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Tuesday
Jan292013

Support in Developing Friendships: Why We Give More Than We Receive

Chances are that at some point, you wanted to become closer friends with someone you liked but didn’t know well. How should you go about building the relationship? For example, if you and your potential new friend were going to an event together, do you offer to pick him or her up or should you ask for a ride? What if instead you were going with someone who is already your best friend? How likely is it that your choice to offer versus ask for a ride would change? A study by Yale University researchers on how people provide support in friendships illuminates why the closeness of a friendship may influence people’s likelihood to offer versus request support in everyday situations.

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Monday
Jan282013

Mother Knows Best: Fleeting Passion or Romantic Love?

My mom (who I live with) thinks I am falling in love, but I am not so sure. Being the scientist that I am, I constantly deliberate on what exactly love is. Love is such a general term that people use to describe so many feelings—I find the application of the word “love” to particular relationships to be very subjective—for example, although she may think I am in love, I actually might just be infatuated.

Given my mother’s unshakable opinion, I reflected on a recent weekend get-away with The Consultant, a man I have been dating for several months, to think about whether this is love or infatuation.

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Saturday
Jan262013

On the Friendly Benefits of Marriage...

Saturday
Jan262013

Week(s) in Review: 13 - 26 January 2013

Friday
Jan252013

It’s the End of My Dating World as I Know It, and I Feel Fine

I once had a (very brave) student ask me if I was familiar with the old saying about teachers. You know the one, it goes a little something like…Those who can’t do, teach. I begrudgingly admitted having heard the saying. Before I could even begin mounting a defense or rebuttal, she continued on with her playful, but oddly poignant, musing: “And Dr. Leder, you teach about relationships. What does that say about you?” Ouch. I put on a brave face and bantered back about how it made me the master of her classroom destiny for that semester. However, her off-hand teasing really got me thinking. Upon reflection, I realized that her jesting about my relationship prowess was surprisingly insightful.

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Wednesday
Jan232013

Late to the Game, Happier in Relationships

According to a recent study published in Psychological Science,1 teenagers who wait longer to have sex experience different kinds of romantic relationships later in life compared to teens that start having sex earlier. This 15-year longitudinal study (beginning in 1994 and concluding in 2009) tracked teenagers’ sexual activity and long-term relationships into their late 20s/early 30s. Those teens that had sex before age 15 (23%) were considered “early” sexual bloomers. Most teens (60%) had sex for the first time between the ages of 15 and 19, which scientists consider normal for American teenagers (thus, “on time”), and 16% of teens reported having sex for the first time after age 19, and were labeled “late” sexual bloomers (8% of the sample did not report having sex at all in their lives).

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Monday
Jan212013

Are You “Relationship-Smart” (Enough)?

Have you ever had to admit on a first date that, among your many compelling and marvelous qualities, you are also a relationship counselor? I have. While this announcement can provoke a range of interesting responses, one I have often remembered was: 

“Really! How interesting. Does that make you any better at your own relationships?”

This particular guy wasn’t asking sarcastically; he was actually curious. I chuckled and stalled for time. On a gut level, I wanted to say yes…but was that true?

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Sunday
Jan202013

What's Not to Love about Math?

image source: cheezburger.com/6943533312 

Saturday
Jan192013

Apologies, High-Heels, and Humor: Tales from the SPSP Poster Session Trenches

Each year at SPSP, (mostly) students and faculty line up to present over 1000 posters, which are descriptions of research studies presented on a 3-foot by 4-foot bulletin board. It’s quite a sight.  With approximately 300+ presenters telling their scientific stories at any given poster session; these sessions can be a bit overwhelming and hectic to navigate. I slogged through such a poster session last night, and have returned with findings from three posters that I thought were particularly interesting.

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Saturday
Jan192013

How Sleep Impacts Our Romantic Relationships

How well did you sleep last night? It turns out that your answer may have implications for your romantic relationship. Today, my friend Amie Gordon from UC Berkeley gave a fascinating talk about how our quality of sleep impacts our feelings of gratitude in relationships.

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Saturday
Jan192013

New Developments in Consensual Non-Monogamy Research

An up-and-coming area of relationships research examines “consensual non-monogamy”—the phenomenon in relationships where partners engage (sexually and emotionally) with other people, and that this is a mutually-accepted norm. This symposium featured our own Jennifer Harman and Bjarne Holmes (both ScienceOfRelationships.com contributors).

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Friday
Jan182013

Data Blitz: Negativity, Parental Caregiving, & Regrets

I’ve kicked off this year’s SPSP in N'awlins by attending the close relationships preconference – an all-day relationship research extravaganza that precedes the official conference. One of my favorite aspects of this event is its signature “data blitz,” in which ten up-and-coming relationship researchers are each given just three minutes (!!!) to quickly tell us about their most exciting, hot-off-the-presses data. Here are some of this year’s highlights: 

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