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Sunday
Jul152012

How Does Your Attachment Influence Your Sexual Relationships?

I saw a symposium of researchers who used attachment theory to explain differences in sexual behavior. In general, people high on attachment anxiety or avoidance (in other words, more insecure folks) have less satisfying sexual experiences.

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Sunday
Jul152012

Hanging Out + Dating: A Venn Diagram

Saturday
Jul142012

Show Me the Money! But, Don't Expect Me to be Nice

Kathleen Vohs and colleagues presented research today about the links between interpersonal sensitivity and money. In several studies in her lab, she found that drawing people's attention to money makes them less likely to be helpful to others, less likely to be charitable, and less likely to even want to sit close to another person.

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Saturday
Jul142012

Lying About Physical Attractiveness

I attended an interesting talk yesterday by Dr. Edward Lemay and his colleagues about how people use deception in their relationships. He wanted to know what motivates people to lie when their girlfriend or boyfriend asks how they look. For example, if you don’t think they look very physically attractive, do you tell the truth?

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Saturday
Jul142012

Going Steady: How Do People Decide to Make Their Relationships Exclusive?

As someone who is fascinated by all things “decision making-y” in relationships, I was really excited to attend a symposium this morning on how people’s commitment to their relationships can change over time. One talk in particular, by Sara Blanch and colleagues, was about how people make that critical, early relationship choice to agree to be exclusive with their partners.

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Saturday
Jul142012

Sexting and Relationship Development

Today I kicked off the IARR conference and my first full day in Chicago by participating in a symposium (a collection of related presentations on the same topic) about sex in relationships. My co-presenter, Jimmie Manning from the Northern Kentucky University, talked about people’s motives for sexting with relationship partners.

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Saturday
Jul142012

Your Relationship On A Ferris Wheel

Friday
Jul132012

Top 5 Tips for Successfully Navigating Your First Conference

It’s hard to believe, but it has been over a decade since I attended my first conference as a student. Now as a professor, when my student who is presenting for the first time, asked me for some tips, I had to think back and put myself in his shoes.  I figured I’d pass along the following handful of suggestions to any readers who are attending their first conference or just curious about what an academic research conference involves.

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Friday
Jul132012

Hairless Skin and Romantic Love: The Naked Love Theory

A striking feature of human beings is our lack of a thick coat of body hair. Since all other primates have such fur this suggests the primate ancestors of human beings likewise had fur and that, for some evolutionary reason, lost their body hair. But what could this reason be? There are various theories but none is fully adequate.

In a new attempt to explain this loss of body hair I argue that human hairlessness had its origin in the ancestral mother-infant relationship. In the “naked love theory”, as I call it, this hairlessness is ultimately the result of bipedalism or the ability to walk on two feet.

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Thursday
Jul122012

Coming to You Live from Chicago, it’s IARR!

Greetings from The Windy City. Many of us at Science of Relationships are part of an organization known as the International Association for Relationships Research (IARR), which is a community of scholars who study relationships. Every 2 years, IARR holds a conference that unites relationship scientists worldwide (this year, we’re gathering in Chicago).

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Thursday
Jul122012

The Economics of Mating: Charging Up for Romance

When I was in college, credit card companies would lure students into opening accounts by giving away t-shirts or 2-liters of Coke in exchange for signing up for a new card. Nearly 20 years later I still have one of those accounts, although the t-shirt is thankfully long gone. I attended an engineering school that had nearly a 2-to-1 male to female sex ratio; there were twice as many young men on campus than women. Did this imbalance affect the likelihood that my fellow single men would get into trouble with their new credit cards? Could it be because of “intrasexual competition” (i.e., competing with other men) for relatively few available females?

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Wednesday
Jul112012

Forbidden Fruit: Do We Want Who We Can’t Have?

Rejecting attractive alternatives (as Homer and Marge Simpson have done over the years) is one factor that predicts longevity and commitment in relationships. In committed relationships, choosing to limit attention to other attractive partners is beneficial for the relationship. What happens though if you impose limitations on a partner’s attention to attractive alternatives?

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Wednesday
Jul112012

No, We Haven't Gone Fishing...

 

We're headed to the International Association for Relationship Research conference in Chicago. See some of you there, and we'll be back next week.

While we're away we are going to revisit a few posts from the vaults. Enjoy!

Tuesday
Jul102012

How Dare You "Unfriend" Me

Social networking has fundamentally changed how we interact with one another. For example, researchers find, time and again,1,2 that interactive networking sites are helpful in maintaining relationships with our close friends and family as well as with our acquaintances. But these sites have also changed how we end our relationships. The best example of this is the ability to “unfriend” someone on Facebook. With the click of a button, you are able to terminate your Facebook relationship with anyone you had previously friended. However, when a friend decides to cut you off, you receive no notification that you have been unfriended. In fact, you’re likely to only notice the change in friendship status when your total number of Facebook friends goes down or if you search for the person who unfriended you and notice they are no longer listed as one of your friends.

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Monday
Jul092012

"Seven Days of Sex": Will It Save Your Marriage?

“Can sex restore marital harmony?” Couples are putting this hypothesis to the test on Lifetime’s new television series 7 Days of Sex (watch it here). Even though the results of everyday coitus seem highly effective on TV, what does science say? Can sex really save a marriage?

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Sunday
Jul082012

Infographic: Relationships, Health, Happiness, and Money

Saturday
Jul072012

True Love and Reciprocity

Saturday
Jul072012

Week in Review: 1-7 July 2012

Friday
Jul062012

Dan Ariely on Cheating and Infidelity

We're big fans of Dan Ariely. His new book, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone-- Especially Ourselves, focuses on many ways that people lie, cheat, or are otherwise dishonest in their lives. We are honored that he's offered to share an excerpt from his new book with ScienceOfRelationships.com. Enjoy!

Of course, no book about cheating would be complete if it didn’t contain something about adultery and the kinds of complex and intricate subterfuges that extramarital relationships inspire. After all, in the popular vernacular, cheating is practically synonymous with infidelity.

In fact, infidelity can be considered one of the main sources of the world’s most dramatic entertainment. If modern-day adulterers such as Liz Taylor, Prince Charles, Tiger Woods, Eliot Spitzer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and many others hadn’t cheated on their spouses, the tabloid magazine and various entertainment news outlets would probably go belly-up (so to speak).

In terms of the fudge factor theory, infidelity is most likely the prototypical illustration of all the characteristics of dishonesty that we have been talking about. To start with, it is the poster child (or at least one of them) of a behavior that does not stem from a cost-benefit analysis. I also suspect that the tendency toward infidelity depends to a great extent on being able to justify it to ourselves. Starting with one small action (maybe a kiss) is another force that can lead to deeper kinds of involvement over time. Being away from the usual day-to-day routine, for example on a tour or a set, where the social rules are not as clear, can further enhance the ability to self-justify infidelity. And creative people, such as actors, artists, and politicians—all known for a tendency to be unfaithful—are likely to be more adept at spinning stories about why it’s all right or even desirable for them to behave that way. And similar to other types of dishonesty, infidelity is influenced by the actions of those around us. Someone who has a lot of friends and family who have had affairs will likely be influenced by that exposure. With all of this complexity, nuance, and social importance, you might wonder why there isn’t a chapter in this book about infidelity and why this rather fascinating topic is relegated to one small section. The problem is data. I generally like to stick to conclusions I can draw from experiments and data. Conducting experiments on infidelity would be nearly impossible, and the data by their very nature are difficult to estimate. This means that for now we are left to speculate—and only speculate—about infidelity.

You can get The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone-- Especially Ourselves here, and check out Dr. Ariely's blog here. His other books include Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions and The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic.

See our articles about cheating and infidelity here.

Thursday
Jul052012

Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality (Book Review)

All group-living nonhuman primates, such as chimpanzees and the lesser known bonobos, are polygamous. Perhaps not coincidentally, researchers have documented infidelity in every human culture. Yet, most evolutionary biologists agree that monogamy is natural to humans and that it has evolved to assure the survival of our species through guaranteed paternal child support. In other words, without monogamy there is no guarantee a guy would stick around to invest in his offspring. Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá, authors of Sex at Dawn,1 argue that a driving force behind this assured “male parental investment” is the certainty that it’s the particular male’s genes that are passed on to any offspring in which he invests. A monogamous bond insures a man will not accidentally support another man’s child, while it simultaneously assures the female that her male partner will not share resources with another woman’s offspring.

If monogamy is so natural, however, then why is it that cultures need to sanction monogamy?

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