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."

Sunday
Jan132013

Long-Distance Relationships: The Infographic

Click to see the whole, big infographicLong-distance relationships are very common. Not surprisingly, we get a lot of questions from our readers and students about whether they should stick it out with their long-distance partners, and if so, how they can make their relationships last in the face of geographic separation. Here are a few of our articles on LDRs, along with a new infographic:

You can check out all of our infographics here, on fun topics like facial hair and attractiveness, breaking up by text message, discrimination against single people, similarities in political views between partners, Valentine's Day and break up, and female orgasm in hook-ups vs. committed relationships.

Saturday
Jan122013

Week(s) in Review: 1 - 12 January 2013

Saturday
Jan122013

Indisputable Evidence of Infidelity?

Thursday
Jan102013

Is Knowledge Power?: Familiarity and Liking in Relationship Initiation

Some say that knowledge is power. Although knowledge in skills such as physics, literature, history, or foreign languages can help you look smart and win on Jeopardy (speaking of which, do you want to hear me talk about history in Russian?), it is less clear whether having knowledge of other people can help you “win” in social situations. In other words, can knowledge about another person lead you to like this person more? Social psychological research has evidence that familiarity may lead to either more and less liking, depending on the context.

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Wednesday
Jan092013

All You Need Is Love

When the Beatles proclaimed that “love is all you need,” little did they know these lyrics would be subjected to scientific scrutiny. Indeed, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, the classic song holds some truth for real relationships. Specifically, relationship success may depend not only on fighting less, but also on being more affectionate in contexts where positive, loving behavior is appropriate or expected. While relationships research has historically focused on alleviating negative communication patterns and distress, such as during conflict, a number of recent studies have explored the role of positive processes in promoting optimal relationship functioning.

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Tuesday
Jan082013

Do People With Dark Personalities Enhance Their Physical Attractiveness?

A friend recently passed along the following and termed it the first date riddle:

“A woman is attending her mother’s funeral and sees a man in the back of the church that she wishes to talk to. He leaves before she gets a chance to speak with him. The next day she kills her sister. Why does she kill her sister?”

The answer to this riddle is that she kills her sister so she can see the man in the back of the church again (she assumes if he attended her mother’s funeral, he would also attend her sister’s). A pretty dark answer, right? The assumption is that the person who answers this riddle correctly is more likely to be a psychopath (empirical evidence not available). Given this possibility, you can ask this riddle on a first date to identify potential psychopath romantic partners before you make the mistake of scheduling a second date.

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Monday
Jan072013

How Do I Get (More) Intimate With A Woman? 

At the stage of my life right now, I feel like I should be able to have a grasp of this, but I still don't. I am 27, male, and I've never had a serious relationship. The plain and simple reason is because I don't know how. During high school the girlfriends that I had were always more aggressive in getting what they wanted (me), so I never truly learned how to go for a woman. As I grew older, it seemed to me that the women expect the men to do most if not all of the work when it comes to intimacy. The steps from introduction to actual physical intimacy are very unclear to me; it's like figuring out the meaning of life (yes, it's that much of a mystery to me).

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Friday
Jan042013

Sex Lives in Second Life

I met my first boyfriend in a Sailor Moon chat room. For the uninitiated, Sailor Moon was a Japanese anime show that was “popular” in the late 1990s. My online alter ego, a character I named Hiko Aino (Japanese for “fire child of love”), was tall, graceful, and witty—everything that I, at the time, was decidedly not. After a few weeks of frequenting the chat room, I started a relationship with a guy whose online persona was a dog (yes, a dog, as in a canine…oh, the shame is endless). It’s probably worth mentioning I was thirteen at the time and wildly unpopular at school (given what I just shared, I can’t imagine why). But the chat room allowed me to reinvent myself, connect with others with similar interests, and—in short—escape the sad reality of middle school. And although the Sailor Moon chat room is probably long gone, other virtual worlds have sprung up in its wake. One such environment is the online community named Second Life.

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