Tuesday
Apr262011

Conan’s Beard: To Shave or Not To Shave?


Before Conan O’Brien allows Will Ferrell to shave his beard, perhaps he should know that research shows that females rate males with a full beard as more attractive, masculine, socially mature, dominant, and aggressive than clean-shaven men. Conan should tell Will Ferrell to leave his “la raza” at home.

Neave, N., & Shields, K. (2008). The effects of facial hair manipulation on female perceptions of attractiveness, masculinity, and dominance in male faces. Personality and Individual Differences, 45(5), 373-377. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2008.05.007

Monday
Apr252011

Is the Royal Couple Compatible?

Science of Relationship's very own Maryhope Howland talks about the future of the royal couple. You can read more about her thoughts on their relationship here, and learn more about her research here.

 

Monday
Apr252011

Why Do Some People Date Multiple Partners at the Same Time?

A reader asked the following question: I'm interested in why some people like dating multiple people at a time and others only focus on one. Is it just for attention? Low self esteem? Or maybe it's survival of the fittest- don't stop on one until you're officially locked down?

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr242011

Who Puts Out?: The Battle of the Bands

We recently posted several entries on data mining from online sources; here's an amusing use of data on music preferences and attitudes towards casual sex. The basic idea is that you can figure out who will put out on the first date based on what music they like. Spoiler alert: Coldplay fans really aren't viva-ing their vida, which makes them less like to experience a rush of blood to the head. Surprisingly, Lady Gaga's "Little Monsters" seem to have been born in a way that makes them prefer to just dance rather than play the love game. If you're really interested in a whole lotta love (btw, its blasphemy that Led Zeppelin fans were not included), look for the person wearing the Nirvana t-shirt who smells like...you know. Thankfully, Justin Bieber's devotees were not included in this study; that would have been really creepy. But for the sake of completeness (and increasing variability), we really wish Marvin Gaye and Donny & Marie fans were polled. So if you're out looking for love, you should avoid being yellow. How can you not feel bad for Gwyneth Paltrow in all of this?
Friday
Apr222011

Is Twitter Bad for Relationships?

If you’re one of our many frequent visitors you know that we recently wrote about the validity of the data presented on OKCupid’s blog. I’m not going to rehash the points raised there, but did want to note a few additional things related to the recent OKTrends post “10 Charts about Sex.”

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr202011

Relationship Conflict: Leaving the Fight In the Car

Maryhope here again, offering up my personal life in the name of science (actually, I think that might be the definition of grad school). Anyway, Ethan, my husband, and I were recently invited to a friend’s house for dinner—an exciting prospect in a city that even after 4 years still feels new to us. Ethan was going to pick me up after drinks with his friends, then we’d head over to the dinner party. No problem. Well Ethan was late. Then he was later. I got mad. Then I got madder.

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Tuesday
Apr192011

Will You Be My Wingman (or Wingwoman)?

Are friends helpful when meeting potential partners? Or do they compete with you for mates? It turns out that males receive help from friends (of both sexes, but especially male friends who are not single themselves) in attracting desirable mates, while women receive help from friends in avoiding undesirable mates.

Ackerman, J. M., & Kenrick, D. T. (2009). Cooperative courtship: Helping friends raise and raze relationship barriers. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 1285-1300.

Monday
Apr182011

Narcissism: Why Charlie Sheen Isn’t “Winning” At Relationships, Part 1

Few celebrity figures fit the definition of a narcissist better than Charlie Sheen. He is famous for his grandiose self-concept, his delusional faith in his own choices, and his defensive self-righteousness in the face of setbacks, not to mention his tiger blood and Adonis DNA.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr172011

Seeing the Humor In Bad Relationships

NPR recently did a story about Nick Galifianakis and his book If You Loved Me, You'd Think This Was Cute: Uncomfortably True Cartoons About You. If you have a dark sense of humor about relationships you might get a kick out of it. I've put it on my Amazon wish list.

You can preview the book here.

Friday
Apr152011

Scream 4: A Good Date Movie?

You're going on a date this weekend and you want to see a movie, but which movie should you go to?  You might think that going to see a romantic movie would be the most likely way to make some sparks fly between you and your date, but according to research Scream 4 is likely the better choice. It may seem odd, but there’s good reason to expect that watching a horror movie could increase attraction between partners.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr142011

Do Opposites Attract?

A reader asked “Do opposites really attract each other for a long, enduring marriage?”

Dear Reader,

The idea that “opposites attract” is what many (including Paula Abdul) would refer to as common sense. Yet, there is another common sense belief that “birds of a feather flock together.” Certainly both feel right and have an element of what Stephan Colbert would call “truthiness.” This is why relationship science is so important, because it provides the only way to know for sure which of these common sense ideas is true.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr132011

For Better, or Worse? Homer & Marge Simpson, Part 3

In two earlier posts, I began analyzing the marriage between Homer and Marge Simpson, one of America’s most enduring fictional TV couples. As reviewed in those posts, predicting the stability of any relationship can be done via application of the Investment Model,1 which states that commitment between partners derives from three sources: (1) satisfaction, (2) dependence (based on perceived alternatives), and (3) investment level.2 In this final installment, we’ll complete the analysis with the last variable, investments.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr122011

Regretting Lost Loves and Missed Opportunities

A new study revealed that 1 in every 5.5 people think of a missed or lost romance when asked about regret. Regrets about romance were listed most frequently – more than family issues, career decisions, and educational opportunities, with women more likely to have romance regrets than men. 

Morrison, M., & Roese, N. J. (in press). Regrets of the typical American: Findings from a nationally representative sample. Social Psychological and Personality Science.  doi: 10.1177/1948550611401756

Monday
Apr112011

OKTrends - Are Their Data Valid?

OKCupid is a popular online dating site, and the creators also run a blog called OKTrends in which they describe patterns of their consumers' behavior with a whole lot of number crunching. The findings they publish are interesting and thought provoking (for example, when women make flirtatious eye-contact in profile pictures, that gets more attention than a smiling picture, on “The 4 Big Myths of Profile Pictures”). The question is, how accurate are these types of findings in light of scientific research on attraction and dating, and how consistent are they with behavior in the general population?

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr102011

Relationship Decline: A Coincidence?

From xkcd.com.

Friday
Apr082011

127 Hours and Attachment Theory: Stuck between a Rock and an Ex-Partner

Aron Ralston is a man defined by his independence, both as described by others and as portrayed by a recent Oscar-nominated film. His passion is in exploring new and challenging terrain, and his pride is in accomplishing his feats completely solo. Yet when Aron finds himself in a situation that is unavoidably distressing (becoming trapped under a rock with little food and water), his permeating thoughts are not about his independent experiences or ambitions, but rather his relationships with the close people in his life.

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Wednesday
Apr062011

College Sex: Consequences for Body Image

Men and women view their own bodies differently after having sex for the first time.  According to research led by Sara Vasilenko, when college-aged men lose their virginity, they become happier with their looks, whereas college-aged women become less happy with their looks after having sex.

Click here to read more about these findings at ScienceDaily.com

Vasilenko, S. A., Ram, N., &  Lefkowitz, E. S. (2011). Body image and first sexual intercourse in late adolescence. Journal of Adolescence, 34, 327-335.

Tuesday
Apr052011

A Link Between Controlling Partners and Relationship Violence

Data from 600 young women reveals that most (68%) experienced a relationship partner's controlling behavior; approximately 10% experienced sexual or physical victimization while 25% were were prevented from seeing friends or were ignored by the partner. Women experiencing controlling behaviors were 2.5 times less likely to honestly report relationship violence.

Catallozzi, M., Simon, P. J., Davidson, L. L., Breitbart, V., & Rickert, V. I. (2011). Understanding control in adolescent and young adult relationships. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 165, 313-319.

Monday
Apr042011

Ask Dr. Loving: Does Sexual Chemistry Matter?

Nicole asked, "If every other sought after characteristic is present, can a relationship thrive on a long-term basis if there is no sexual chemistry?"

 Dear Nicole;

The makers of Viagra® would have you think such an idea is sheer lunacy!  Ultimately, however, it depends on what you mean by “thrive.”

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr032011

All the Best Lines are Taken