Susan Hughes and colleagues know how to spice up an academic paper:
“Kissing between sexual and/or romantic partners occurs in over 90 percent of human cultures […]. Even in cultures where kissing is nonexistent or condemned, sex partners may blow in each other’s faces, lick, suck, or rub their partner’s face prior to intercourse.” (Hughes, Harrison & Gallup, 2007, p.612).
Now, strangely, we all want to know more, so let’s explore their study’s results question and answer style…
If there was ever research guaranteed to make women suspicious of male researcher’s motivations it’s this one. Pointed out to me by a kind email correspondent (thank you!), this study tests a hypothesis put forward by Ney (1986) suggesting that prostaglandins, a component of semen, may actually be useful in treating depression.
What does the future hold for the institution of marriage? I ask because we’re constantly hearing about the ‘deinstitutionalisation’ of marriage. Marriage no longer occupies the central, solid role it once did, divorce is on the rise and people are getting married later. All these seem to point to a weakening of marriage in many Western societies.
So, how will marriage be viewed in the future? As a quaint custom fast dying out whose proponents can only be found amongst die-hard traditionalists? As an indicator of advanced age, social backwardness and constriction? In short: is marriage dying?
If there’s one subject in psychology that’s guaranteed to remind me I’m part of the animal kingdom it is evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary psychology attempts to explain our psychological makeup by thinking about natural selection. In other words evolutionary psychologists ask questions about what evolutionary advantage is gained by particular types of behaviour.
In the process of asking these questions they come up with terms like ‘mate value’, ‘ mate choice’ and ‘mating effort’. Oh, these guys are obsessed with mating, just like the rest of us. One recent study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology provides an interesting examples of the genre.
When I walk into someone’s home, almost without thinking I look around at the whole decor, but I’m particularly interested in prominently displayed objects.
When I walk into someone’s home, almost without thinking I look around at the whole decor, but I’m particularly interested in prominently displayed objects. It gives me a sense of the person. Indeed studies have shown it is possible to draw some limited conclusions about personality from personal spaces like homes or offices (Gosling et al., 2002). What about couples though? Is it possible to tell anything about relationships from objects that are prominently displayed? Research by Lohmann, Arriaga and Goodfriend (2003) suggests it is.
Glossy magazine articles on the body language of attraction often quote two vital nonverbal factors: posture mirroring and movement echo. The first is where the other person has adopted the same position as you and the second is where they copy your movement. While they both play a role, research suggests it’s not in fact the individual movements, but the patterns of movements that tell the story of attraction between two people.
Psychology research is not generally very good at capturing change. Measurements tend to be fairly static, either looking at one slice of time or asking participants to average over a period. Which is why this research on smiling is so unusual. Some of the best known research on smiling is about how people judge an authentic smile – the so-called ‘Duchenne smile’ or the ‘crinkly-eyed smile’. What this research asks, though, is how does a smile’s speed in combination with head-tilt and gender affect its perception.
Most people make relationship sacrifices in one way or another, but I’m always suspect of people who specifically emphasise them.
[Photo by j.simpson]
Most people make relationship sacrifices in one way or another, but I’m always suspect of people who specifically emphasise them. It’s inevitable that one partner’s interests in a relationship will clash with the other, perhaps only occasionally, perhaps frequently. They get a job at the other end of the country, your family and friends live close by. What to do? When two people have to make this kind of choice, a compromise is eventually reached. New research suggests, though, that it is the way this compromise is interpreted that will have important implications for the relationship.
Although divorce/relationship breakdown happens at a number of levels – psychological, legal, economic – it is children that are usually the first concern. Who will take custody? How will the parents manage their relationship after they have separated? Continuing the series on the psychology of relationships, this post examines five broad ways psychological research has found people negotiate their newfound status as ‘separated parents’.
Unlike ‘love’ and ‘commitment’, the words ‘relationship satisfaction’ are unlikely to strike fear into the heart of the unreconstructed man (or reconstructed woman). But once a relationship has become long-term, although we still talk about love and commitment, in some ways it’s satisfaction that comes to the forefront. Indeed, low satisfaction is an important predictor of relationship breakdown. So, what factors have psychologists found are important in how satisfied we are with our relationships?