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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Friday
Jan182013

The “Big T” – Testosterone, Sexual Desire, and Mating

Dr. Robin Edelstein talked about her research on how power/dominance relates testosterone and “unrestricted” sexual desires.  In her talk she cited the recent example of David Petraeus (the former general and CIA chief), who resigned in disgrace after admitting an extra-marital affair. Why do powerful men like Petraeus behave this way? Edelstein’s research showed that when researchers in the lab primed partnered (i.e., not single) men to feel powerful, they had an increase in testosterone levels, and that this change in testosterone was associated with an increase in the desire for more casual sex partners.  These increases in testosterone resulting from a powerful status are one biological explanation for why men like Petraeus engage in infidelity.

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Friday
Jan182013

Do a Person’s Reasons for Having Sex Influence Their Partner’s Relationship Quality?

I kicked off SPSP this year by attending the close relationships pre-conference where Dr. Emily Impett (my mentor) received the Early Career Award. In her award address, Dr. Impett presented research on how we may give up our self-interests to meet our relationship partner’s needs, and when this can be beneficial and when it is may be less ideal.

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Thursday
Jan172013

SPSP Coverage, Broadcasting from N'awlins

Greetings from The Big Easy! Many of us at ScienceOfRelationships.com belong to an organization known as the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), which is a community of scholars who study all things related to social behavior and individual differences (e.g., morality/religion, self-esteem, aggression, and of course, relationships!). Every year SPSP hosts a conference that unites social and personality scientists worldwide. This year we’re gathering in New Orleans.

Conferences like this one are a great tradition. They provide a time for researchers to come together and share recent projects they’ve been working on as well as new and exciting results/findings, and to learn about cutting-edge methods and ideas. Many of us who write for ScienceOfRelationships.com will be presenting studies from our own labs. The conference also offers a great opportunity to connect with peers in the field who are doing related work and to hang out with old friends or former lab mates who live far away. On top of all that, it’s a chance to explore fun cities that we might not ordinarily get the chance to visit.

We also thought this would be a great opportunity to share some tidbits from the conference with our readers. So, over the next few days, expect to see some brief posts with never-before-seen, fresh-from-the-oven research findings (mmmmmm delicious data…) and some general excerpts from the conference.

 

Wednesday
Jan162013

ScienceOfRelationships.com in New Orleans

We're headed to New Orleans this week for the annual Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) conference. Given the success of our live-blogging at the IARR conference in Chicago last summer, we'll be doing it again at SPSP. Stay tuned for reports on the latest and greatest in relationships research begining this Thursday and continuing through the weekend.

We'll also be receiving the 2012 SPSP Media Award at the conference. Thanks for all your support in making us the best place on the internet to learn about relationships!

If you're also going to be in New Orleans later this week you might want to check out our tips for attending your first conference. 

Tuesday
Jan152013

Are There Benefits to Making Sexual Changes for your Partner?

Over the course of a romantic relationship, there are bound to be times when your sexual interests diverge from your partner’s interests. Perhaps you enjoy having sex at night, but your partner prefers morning sex. Maybe you desire sex about once or twice a week, but your partner would like to have sex once or twice a day. Or maybe you fantasize about being tied to the bedpost, but bondage is not one of your partner’s sexual fantasies. Although a satisfying sex life is an important part of overall relationship happiness,1,2 sex can also be one of the most challenging issues to negotiate in a romantic relationship.2 Romantic partners may disagree on when to have sex, how often to have it, and what those sexual activities involve. If romantic partners have differing sexual interests, what can they do?

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Monday
Jan142013

Reflections and Resolutions

With the start of each new year, I engage in a lot of self-reflection; in fact, I think I do more self-reflection than New Year’s resolution making. At about this time last year, I started to awaken from a long, self-induced romantic relationship hibernation. After wiping the sleep from my eyes, I have dated several interesting men and had quite a few adventures. As I reflect on the last year, and the years that have led up to this one, I need to admit to myself that the changing of old relationship patterns remains difficult for me.

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Sunday
Jan132013

Creating A Bad Relationship

Most of the time relationship science focuses on how to create and maintain stable and happy relationships. What if someone tried to create bad relationships? Well, wonder no longer because the "scientists" over at The Onion have developed a highly volatile relationship. Click here to read the full "study."