Monday
Mar282011

Getting Dumped Hurts Like Hell 

A new study highlights the similarities between physical pain and social rejection. When recently dumped individuals were asked to view a picture of their ex, an fMRI scan revealed that their brain was active in the same areas that process physical pain. 

Kross, E., Berman, M. G., Mischel, W., & Smith, E. E. (2011). Social rejection shares somatosensory representations with physical pain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Monday
Mar282011

“I Would Die for Ya Baby”: Why People Make Sacrifices for Their Relationships 

In Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, Bella offers to give up her human life to become a vampire in order be with her 104-year-old vampire boyfriend, Edward, forever. This ultimate sacrifice, driven by “true love,” is only one of many types of sacrifices that people make on an everyday basis for their intimate relationships. Relationship scientists refer to these behaviors as “willingness to sacrifice," and they can run the gamut from minor and short term inconveniences, such as having to go to your partner’s work party on Friday night when you would rather stay home and watch The Bachelor on TV, to much more substantial or long-term sacrifices, such as jumping in front of a train to save your partner’s life.

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Sunday
Mar272011

The Date Went Okay, I Guess

Friday
Mar252011

Who Says "I Love You" First in a Relationship?

Societal gender norms suggest that women should be most concerned with declarations of love, especially during the early, uncertain phase of relationships. After all, who are all those romantic comedies and chick flick movies marketed toward? But recent research demonstrates that in fact, it’s the men who are more likely to say “I love you” first in relationships.1 Not only that, but hearing “I love you” from a romantic partner for the first time makes men even happier than it makes women. And although this may not jive with gender stereotypes, it makes a lot of sense from an evolutionary perspective.

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Wednesday
Mar232011

Why Prince William Has the Makings of an Excellent Husband

I was watching the interview with the newly engaged Prince William and Kate Middleton on Youtube, when I noticed Prince William engaging in the very behavior I study-- invisible support.1 It’s like he knew I’d be watching! The basic idea behind invisible support is that it’s support that is very subtle and flies under the radar-- so much so, that the person receiving it may not even realize that they’re being supported. It doesn’t look or feel like one person providing support to another person.

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Tuesday
Mar222011

Jersey Shore: Snooki and Vinny = "Friends with Benefits"

Rather than write about the continuing saga of Ronnie and Sammie (guess what, they’re still fighting as predicted in last week’s post), I thought I’d focus on Vinny and Snooki’s relationship.  If you’ve been following the show, you know that they were friends that “smushed” (had sex) in the past and remain close friends. Essentially, they have a “friends with benefits” relationship where there is a friendship and sex, but no romantic relationship.1  

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Tuesday
Mar222011

Why Would Someone Snoop on Their Partner?

When relationship partners are reluctant to reveal information or discuss their thoughts and feelings, people may be more likely to snoop on them by doing things like checking their pockets or reading through their text messages. This is especially true if the 'future snooper' has low levels of trust.

Vinkers, C., Finkenauer, C., & Hawk, S. (2011). Why do close partners snoop? Predictors of intrusive behavior in newlywed couples. Personal Relationships, 18, 110-124.



Monday
Mar212011

Dating: How to Make a Bad Impression over Email

"SS" forwarded us just about the craziest email we've ever seen. After going out with this guy once, SS received the email in question as they were corresponding to set up a second date and asking about each other's typical day. We can't post the actual message (for privacy reasons), but believe us when we say it's nuttier than a squirrel's breakfast, including references to bathing in monkey blood, daydreaming about being Minotaur, and commuting to work via jetpack.

She says "it appears that he wanted to be creative and funny -- but this came off creepy after a first date. What was this guy thinking? If you like a girl and have already planned a second date with her, why would you send this email? Any insight into this male behavior is much appreciated."

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Mar202011

Statistically Significant Other

From xkcd.com.
Friday
Mar182011

Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, and Love at First Sight

Countless books, songs, and movies have rapturously portrayed the idea that you might one day look across the room, lock eyes with a stranger, and know instantly that you two are meant to be together forever. This phenomenon is portrayed in the movie The Adjustment Bureau in which Matt Damon’s character meets Emily Blunt’s character briefly in a bathroom and is thereafter willing to defy scary men in suits who control the world in order to be with her. 

So what does science have to say about love at first sight?

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Thursday
Mar172011

Do Happy Teens Divorce More?

A recent article indicates teenagers who were most happy were also more likely to divorce as adults. But remember: correlation doesn't equal causation! It's probably the case that teenage happiness is associated with the self-confidence, support, and enpowerment to leave bad relationships as an adult; not that happiness itself causes divorce.

Click here to read more about these findings on the HuffingtonPost.com.

Richards, M., & Huppert, F. A. (2011). Do positive children become positive adults? Evidence from a longitudinal birth cohort study. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 6, 75-87.

Wednesday
Mar162011

For Better, or Worse? Homer & Marge Simpson, Part 2

In an earlier post, I began analyzing the marriage between Homer & Marge Simpson, one of America’s most enduring fictional TV couples. As mentioned then,  analyzing 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 Whereas Part 1 of this series focused on Satisfaction, in Part 2 we move on to the second variable: Dependence.

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Monday
Mar142011

Ronnie & Sam on the Jersey Shore: Will They Ever Stop Fighting?  

Sammie came back to the house, swore that she and Ron were over, they got drunk and ended up back together…for about a day before they started fighting again. This may be the least surprising series of developments on Jersey Shore, well aside from Snooki getting arrested for public drunkenness. The roommates knew this was coming and that there was going to be a big fight. Paulie even remarked how he was going to get some popcorn, sit on the couch and watch the upcoming “movie” of the inevitable Ron and Sammie fight. Everyone thought the chain of events was obvious, yet Ron and Sammie tried to work it out.  

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Monday
Mar142011

"Do You Pursue Love or Does It Pursue You?"

Amy asked “do you pursue love or does it pursue you? Do you think that people are in one of these two categories or is it ever changing in our lives?”

Dear Amy,

Great question; this is essentially getting at what researchers call “implicit theories of relationships.”1 What’s important is what you believe about relationships and love, not necessarily that there’s a one-size-fits-all prescription for relationships.

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Sunday
Mar132011

Rose-Colored Glasses and Relationship Satisfaction

Research by Dr. Sandra Murray and colleagues, appearing in Psychological Science (April 2011), indicates that those who idealize their partners don't show a decline in satisfaction during their first three years of marriage. Click here for the Scientific American podcast about this work and here for the writeup on businessweek.com. 

Friday
Mar112011

Marriage Satisfaction: Is It Now the "3-year-glitch"?

Recently, there has been an explosion of news stories about that seem to suggest that in today’s fast-paced world couples are getting sick of each other even faster. Namely the 7-year-itch is now a “3-year-glitch.” Interestingly, the study was funded by Warner Bros. and timed to be released with the movie Hall Pass.

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Friday
Mar112011

What Payback Comes from Revenge?

Relationships are full of slings and arrows that can sometimes spark a deep desire to “pay back” perceived offenses. Whether someone has been betrayed by a friend or romantic partner, been offended by a boss or coworker, or been a victim of a crime, the desire for revenge can be very strong. Until recently, however, researchers have known very little about this powerful, volatile experience.

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Thursday
Mar102011

Two Weeks and 11,000 Hits Later...

ScienceOfRelationships.com has been "live" for two weeks and we appreciate all the positive feedback we've received. It's been a super 14 days, with over 11,000 page views since launch.

To answer a question we received yesterday: Yes, we have an RSS feed (we're also on Facebook and Twitter). Keep the questions and suggestions coming; we have posts based on readers' suggestions coming in the next few days.

Thursday
Mar102011

Cheating: Your Voice May Say It All...

People perceive men with lower voices (e.g., Barry White) and women with higher voices (e.g., Mariah Carey) as more likely to cheat. Why? A low male voice indicates high testosterone, while a high female voice indicates high estrogen.

O'Connor, J., Re, D., & Feinberg, D. (2011). Voice pitch influences perceptions of sexual infidelity. Evolutionary Psychology, 9, 64-78.

Wednesday
Mar092011

"He's Just Not That Into You"

A reader submitted the following question: The phrase "He's Just Not That Into You" has been popularized by a recent book and movie. I have found that if a man is not that into a woman, it doesn't work out. But if a man is really into a woman, but she's not into him, will it work out?

Dear Reader:

We don't believe in basing relationship decisions on movies or even books that aren't backed up by scientific study, so let's see what research has to say. The general question here is about equal partnership in a relationship, with both parties holding similar levels of interest (see our post on the principle of least interest). Equal interest in a relationship is a good recipe for success.

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