Thursday
Dec132012

Regifting: A Gift-Giver’s Hidden Shame

Ever get a gift that was so perfect for you that you actually already had the gifted item? Or maybe you received a gift that was so awful that you wondered if the giver knew you at all. (Sure, it’s the thought that counts, but what were they thinking?!) These are the times when gift receipts and generous store return policies come in handy. But if exchanges aren’t allowed, we may find ourselves contemplating “regifting” (i.e., giving the unwanted gift to someone else), especially with National Regifting Day approaching on the Thursday before Christmas. We may feel ashamed or opportunistic, however, about presenting someone with a gift we didn’t want ourselves in light of the distinct social taboo against the practice of regifting. (Remember Elaine’s indignant “He recycled this gift! He’s a regifter!” on Seinfeld?). Is this worry justified?

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec122012

This Holiday Season, Get Your Romantic Partner Exactly What He or She Wants

As the gift giving swings into full gear, the pressure is on to find that perfect gift for your significant other. But what sort of present will best communicate your affections? Should you scour the mall (or internet) in search of new gift-giving inspiration? Or should you “stick to the list”, and just give your partner what he or she wished for?

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec112012

Want to Get Lucky on Your Holiday Date? Skip the Mistletoe and Wear Red Instead

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, everyone knows that red is one of the colors associated with this holiday. It’s the color of Santa’s suit, Rudolph’s nose, and those tacky woolen sweaters you inevitably see at the office holiday party. However, recent research suggests that red gets us “in the mood” for more than just eggnog and gift-giving—it also increases how attractive and sexually desirable we find other people.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec112012

The Warm Glow of the Past

Let’s take a trip down nostalgia lane for a moment. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and try to bring to mind a special memory. What came to mind? You might be thinking about a special time with a loved one or a beloved pet. Perhaps you are recalling an event that has special meaning for you, such as your wedding day or the birth of your child. Maybe the thought of Grandma’s cookies flood your senses – so much so that you can actually smell them baking in the kitchen. Or you could be thinking about the happy-go-lucky days of your youth when you were free to be whomever you wanted to be.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec102012

Erotic Photos: A Holiday Gift Both You and Your Partner will Appreciate?

Looking for the perfect Holiday gift for a romantic partner or lover? Our research suggests that having an erotic photo taken could turn out to be a great gift for both you and your partner!

In recent years, a growing number of women (and some men and couples too!) have been visiting professional photographers to have sexy photos taken. Recently, myself and my colleagues conducted two studies about erotic photography and learned that there is more to this experience than meets the eye.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec102012

Our Stuff: Household Objects Indicate Relationship Quality

Having just moved into a new house, one thing is clear to me (and the moving guys): Couples accumulate a lot of stuff. Whether it’s the crates full of grunge CDs from college or our new bedroom furniture, I have firsthand knowledge that as a couple’s relationship develops, so does their collection of objects and artifacts. Now I’m not talking about the folks on Hoarders here. Rather, as normal couples build a household together, undoubtedly that includes merging each individuals’ possessions along with the acquisition of new things (please see my credit card statement as evidence for the latter). 

What do those household objects say about relationships? Can we tell anything about a couple by looking at their stuff?

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec092012

The Upside of Speed Dating

Saturday
Dec082012

Our Relationship: It's Complex

Saturday
Dec082012

Week in Review: 2 - 8 December 2012

Friday
Dec072012

Why Is The Popular Media So Fascinated By “Cougars?”

As you may have noticed, some of Hollywood’s leading ladies have taken younger lovers and husbands in recent years. Although most people still think about the recently-dissolved Demi and Ashton (separated in age by 16 years) as the epitome of older women-younger man relationships, there are actually numerous other examples. Susan Sarandon (33 years older than her partner), Mariah Carey (+11 years), Jennifer Lopez (+18 years), Katie Couric (+17 years), and Madonna (+30ish years) are all currently involved with younger guys (click here for a few additional examples). The public and popular press alike have been fascinated by these so-called “cougar” relationships, considering them worthy of front page news. However, if you’re anything like me, you probably can’t help but wonder why these relationships are such a big deal.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec062012

Could You Be Loved, and Give Love? Cultural Differences in Pursuing a Partner

Michelle Kaufman is a researcher who focuses on sexual behavior in the developing world. She globe trots regularly, conducting ethnographic work all along the way in order to inform both the quantitative and qualitative research she conducts. Recently, Michelle visited 3 countries in 1 trip and did a cross-cultural comparison.

My last international romp spanned across 2 continents and 3 countries—Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. Since I’ve written about each of these countries individually, this time I decided to do a cross-cultural comparison in my ethnographic fieldwork. In each country, I wanted to look at how men and women show their romantic interest in a potential partner.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec052012

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems: How Having Money Can Make You a Worse Parent

Common sense suggests that people should get their financial ducks in a row before having children. Indeed, couples frequently put off having children because they first want to be more financially secure. There are definitely some important upsides to this strategy; for example, kids tend to be healthier and happier when their parents are more well-off. But might there also be downsides to pursuing wealth before parenting?

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec042012

The “Halo” of Hot Women

When you see a really attractive woman, you might be struck by her beauty, but does her beauty affect what you assume is going on in her head? Or what kind of character she has? Perhaps. People tend to assume that physically attractive people hold other positive qualities just by looking at them—this is one example of the “Halo Effect” or what is also known as the “what is beautiful is good” stereotype. For example, observers assume that good-looking people are more socially skilled, better at their jobs, and more emotionally healthy (e.g., less anxiety or loneliness). But is there any truth to this perception? Are hot people actually higher on these qualities? Researchers examined this question in a recent study published in Psychological Science.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec032012

Dating with Children: How and When Should You Introduce the Kids? 

I have not been able to see The Consultant much the last few weeks due to his travel schedule. When he is in town, our ability to find time to spend together has been further complicated by the fact that we both have kids. Faced with the possibility of not seeing each other at all over the long Thanksgiving weekend because of our childcare obligations, I proposed “running into each other” at a local museum. He was looking for something to do with his tween girls anyway, so it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec022012

We're 99% Sure She Meant To Do This...

Saturday
Dec012012

Week in Review: 25 November - 1 December 2012

Saturday
Dec012012

T-Rex Did Not Evolve For Romance

Although T-Rex didn't evolve for romance, humans did (or at least we evolved to have mating relationships). Check out our articles about Evolutionary Psychology here.

Original source unknown...I think we got it from George Takei's Facebook page. 

Friday
Nov302012

So You Think You’re Funny?

A pirate walks into a bar with a steering wheel in his pants. The bartender looks at him, and says: “Hey buddy, that looks pretty uncomfortable.” The pirate says: “Arrrrrrrrr, it’s driving me nuts.” I have a feeling you find this joke very funny. As a consequence, you probably like me a lot at this point (unless I’m the only one who finds this joke funny). 

You don’t need a scientist to inform you that we all love to laugh. Humor is a social phenomenon; some researchers have estimated that we laugh about 18 times a day, mostly in the company of others. It should come as no surprise then that we like those who make us laugh. Research routinely shows that both men and women want a partner who has a good sense of humor.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Nov292012

Regrets: What Hurts the Most?

What comes to mind when you think about your most important goals in life? Finding the perfect person to marry? Having children? Finding the best job or career path? When people make mistakes in pursuit of these goals, the pain of opportunities lost likely leads to regret. Regret is a complex negative emotion that involves a sense of sorrow at what might have been or wishing previous choices could be undone.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov282012

Two Can Keep a Secret (If One of Them Is Dead)

If you missed the first post in this series about family secrets, Got a Secret, Can You Keep It?, check it out here.

People often claim, “My partner knows me inside and out.” Sure, in our close relationships, we’d like to think we know the person with whom we share our bed, our meals, and our time. But is it necessary to know absolutely everything about your significant other? And if you have a few skeletons yourself that you’d like to keep in the proverbial closet, how far would you go to keep them there? On the mystery-thriller TV series Pretty Little Liars, some of the characters resort to murder to keep their secrets safe.

When we’re the ones hiding negative parts of ourselves from others, it may come naturally to protect our images rather than seem dishonest or hurtful.

Click to read more ...