Entries in social connectedness (4)

Thursday
Oct292015

Connecting With Nature Promotes Connecting With Others

Connecting with nature just feels good. Nothing matches the feeling of serenity experienced when taking a quiet walk in the woods, listening to water flow over rocks in a stream, or taking in the enormity of a beautiful panoramic natural view. Obviously, in the moment, such tranquil settings do wonders for us. But does connecting with nature have longer-term effects by carrying over into other aspects of our lives after this exposure to nature? And how would this happen? Does nature affect our mood or our motivation to act prosocially? 

It’s hard to conduct empirical work that addresses these questions directly, but a team of researchers recently created a series of three clever laboratory experiments mimicking real world dilemmas to provide help determine whether connecting with nature affects our future behavior.

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Thursday
Feb072013

The Perfect Valentine‚Äôs Day Date: Keep it Warm and Heavy

There is a lot of pressure to impress your romantic partner with a fabulous Valentine’s Day date (I should know – Valentine’s Day is also my wife’s birthday!). If you decide to go to a fancy restaurant, how do you know which cuisine to choose? Should you go with spicy Thai or cold sushi? If you’re going to buy your partner a gift, do you choose something practical and imminently useful but unromantic (the Science of Relationships book?) or should you instead go with something useless but romantic (a stuffed teddy bear holding a satin pillow shaped like a heart with “Valentine’s Without You Would be Un-Bear-able” written on it?). Or, if you’re going to get your sweetie something, well, sweet, should you choose the heart-shaped box of chocolates that is the candy equivalent of Russian Roulette or should you buy some specialty hot cocoa?

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Wednesday
Aug152012

Four-Legged Support: The Benefits of Owning a Pet

Decades of research show that close relationships play a critical role in our health and wellbeing. People need to feel connected to others, and so they fare much better when they have supportive, nurturing relationships with people such as family members, friends, and romantic partners. But what about our relationships with our four-legged friends? Are pets just cute and fun to play with, or can they actually help to meet some of our important psychological needs?

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Thursday
Jun232011

I Learned It By Watching You

Have you ever felt like others’ negative moods are contagious? If you feel a connection to them, you may be right. Participants who were led to feel a connection to a confederate based on shared interests (e.g., favorite movies, music, travel destinations) felt more stress when the confederate exhibited greater stress and anxiety while preparing for a speech. Similarly, participants experienced increased heart rate and blood pressure when watching the confederate engage in strenuous exercise. 

Cwir, D., Carr, P. B., Walton, G. M., & Spencer, S. J. (2011). Your heart makes my heart move: Cues of social connectedness cause shared emotions and physiological states among strangers. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47(3), 661-664.