new link as of January 1, 2018
broken links here
Activities and Exercises
Pairing Game - From
the following source comes this in-class activity to illustrate
the matching phenomenon:
Bruce J; Kelley, Harold H. (1999). The pairing game: A classroom
demonstration of the matching phenomenon. Teaching of Psychology,
26, 118-121. Abstract: Describes 2 versions of an in-class simulation
that allows students to directly experience the matching phenomenon
and explore issues concerning mate selection, social exchange,
and related psychological concepts. Students are randomly assigned
a value (either a numerical value or a list of adjectives),
which they place on their forehead so others can see it but
the student cannot. The goal is to pair off with another student
with as high a value as possible. The simulation, called the
Pairing Game, illustrates how matching on similarity can occur,
even in the absence of knowledge of one's own value and merely
by seeking the highest value possible in a partner.
Friedrich reports that he uses this activity and adds: "I simply
have my pairs that have emerged from the game arbitrarily designate
a "Partner A" and a "Partner B"; then each pair gets to plot
their coordinates with Partner A on the X asis and Partner B
on the Y. There's always a very nice scatterplot, as the demo
itself produces pretty good matching. Even medium size correlations
of r = .5 tend to look pretty vague in small-N scatterplots,
but the patterns jump right out whenever I do this (with or
without the actual statstistical calculation)." He adds: "The
article mentioned might go nicely with a recent finding reported
in the Journal of Family Psychology (I believe) showing that
heterosexual relationships in which the man is slightly less
attractive than the woman exhibit better interpersonal relationships.
The interpretation - or at last one of them - is that one of
the things that less attractive men offer to attract more attractive
woman with a broader range of choices is greater attentiveness,
willingness to listen, etc. I've only read a summary and haven't
been able to get the original yet, so don't quote me on this.
For a more formal and comprehensive treatment of using market
and economic principles in an attempt to understand key elements
of heterosexual relationships, I regularly assign the following
article by Roy Baumeister and Kathleen Vohs. [Baumeister, Roy
F; Vohs, Kathleen D. (2004). Sexual Economics: Sex as Female
Resource for Social Exchange in Heterosexual Interactions. Personality
and Social Psychology Review, 8, 339-363.] It always generates
lots of reactions (ranging from amused to heated) and provides
a good opportunity for talking about what one looks for or doesn't
in good theory -- ability to parsimoniously explain a range
of existing phenomena, ability to generate new testable predictions,
use of principles that are "independently motivated" (developed
for purposes other than for explaining the phenomena in question),
etc. It also provides opportunities to talk about things like
naturalistic fallacy errors and the temptation to evaluate psychological
theories (provisional and testable descriptions of nature) by
the way they make us feel or the social ends they might or might
not serve." Here's
a link to a related article. [added 5/3/08]
romance be rational? - a few good activities from Myers and
DeWall [added 2/12/15]
Similarity Project - In one version of this activity, starting
in groups of four, students are asked to identify as many similarities
as they can between their different groups. Then they join larger
and larger groups to see if they can identify even more similarities.
a Facebook game - Dan Ariely has created a Facebook activity
that he can use as a research tool and your students can use to
learn about different social psychological phenomena. Of course,
none of your students may be on Facebook... [added
your own faces - cool, online program in which you get to
manipulate facial features [added 12/4/10]
analysis - Here is an activity from Jessica Collett's Social
Psychology course in which students analyze possible conversations
they might have. Here
is some background info on conversational structure. [added
an "average" face - Interesting site lets you create an average
face from images provided. The site also explains how these average
faces are created. "You can also average your own uploaded faces!"
more fun with faces - Robin Musselman used the "Human Race
Machine" as part of a class to, well, I'll let Robin tell it:
"I try to think of an overarching theme each semester. In this
particular semester it was the fall after the first face transplant
and somewhere I had read something that this was a procedure that
could have been done previously, but hadn't because of the significance
of the face to individual's psyche. It really got me thinking
and so I decided to use the face as a theme that fall.
don't necessarily tell students....here is the theme, but I try
to interweave it throughout the semester. That same semester I
was using wikis for the first time so the first day of class I
took everyone's picture and then created a Who's Who in Psychology
page with each class have an individual page for each student.
I posted their first name and picture and then they could create
from there. Introduce themselves to the class, if you will, and
they continued to add to those pages throughout the semester.
I gave students the right to remove their picture if they wanted
to, but I think only one or two out of 120 did so.
talked about face recognition in the brain section, perception
allowed for some unique illusions with face symmetery and other
facial illusions, in learning and memory we talked about remembering
names and/or faces, we talked about facial _expression_, the baby's
innate fascination of faces, culture and beauty, I can't remember
all of the little and not so little tie ins off the top of my
head. I used the film Faces (with John Cleese) and the books,
The Autobiography of the face, and another book (not the companion
to the video Faces) The Face, which was a great resource. About
2/3 into the semester I had arranged for the Human Race Machine
to come onto campus for a week and students could transform their
faces into another race as well as age themselves 20 years. Students
really were fascinated by this (I had seen it at a museum in Maryland....for
info see, http://www.humanracemachine.com/faq.html
the end of the semester we used the facial recognition software
and many students posted those images that were "supposed" to
look like them on their wiki pages. Again, students really enjoyed
it and in fact, I had promised that three weeks after the semester
I would "take down" the wiki pages with student pictures, etc.
and then I had several students contact me asking if I still had
their pages so they could transfer them to another site. All in
all it was a fun semester." [added
Filter - fun site where one can morph a face to fit several
emotional responses and types of attractiveness [added
exposure effect [added
Resources (Audio / Video)
Facial contrast and Kim Kardashian's ... - a podcast
Coalitional mate retention - If you want to prevent your partner from cheater, here's what you need to know. A podcast
"How parents meddle in their children's love lives" - a podcast
and resolving disagreements immediately" - a podcast from Relationship Matters - [added 2/17/15]
and conflict in relationships - A podcast from Science of Relationships
-- Are there any podcasts you have your students listen to outside
of class and then discuss in class or have them respond to in some
other way? Let me know. [added 2/17/15]
link between relationship quality and oxytocin" - a podcast
from Science of Relationships [added 2/17/15]
we keep passion alive?" - a Relationship Matters podcast
shame and seeking forgiveness" - a podcast from Science
of Relationships [added 2/18/14]
Matters Podcast Series - Listen to experts in their fields discuss
their work -- affiliated with the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
secret of pronouns - NPR interviews James Pennebaker about his
fascinating research on the use of pronouns and their relationship
to dating. [added
I Normal (Sexually)? - interesting, 30-minute episode in BBC radio's
Am I Normal series [added
Brand's take on the Renee Zellweger kurfaffle - (7:40)
Watch comedian Russell Brand at the first link. Read here
to learn more about the controversy. [added
America pageants - (15:24) John
Oliver takes them on in this segment from his show, Last Week
Tonight. [added 2/17/15]
economic benefits of physical attractiveness" - (1:49)
are men reluctant to date overweight women? - (7:27)
Comedian Louis C. K. gives his take on the subject in this compelling
scene from his tv show. Well worth watching. A good discussion starter.
is a link to a conversation with the actress who played the overweight
woman in the clip. Here
is a description and video of comedy clip about overweight women
that has received less attention. [added 2/12/15]
more effort equal a better relationship? - (6:06)
Dubbed the Benjamin Franklin effect, this video describes a study
investigating what happens when one partner puts a lot of effort
into a relationship. Via Wikipedia, the Benjamin Franklin effect
is illustrated when "a person who has done someone a favor
is more likely to do that person another favor than they would be
if they had received a favor from that person. Similarly, one who
harms another is more willing to harm them again than the victim
is to retaliate." As Ben himself told me, "He that has
once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than
he whom you yourself have obliged." [added 2/12/15]
are babies so cute? - (2:12) [added 2/12/15]
of men's breakup songs - (5:24) [added
the ideal female body has changed in the last 100 years - (1:58)
loneliness lethal? - (18:45) A
TED talk from John Cacioppo [added 2/12/15]
NOT about the nail" - (1:42)
You have to see this one -- a great take on male/female communication.
science of kissing - (5:51) [added 2/12/15]
we don't want to be alone - (2:49)
first date - (2:44)
Fun video. Maybe you can ask your students if they have been the
giver or receiver of such persistence? How would they respond? [added
love - (41:35) presentation
by Elaine Hatfield at the 2012 APS convention [added
amusing ad - (0:45)
That's all I can say. I don't want to give it away. Like some people.
creates dramatic ad for marriage equality - (3:20)
your soulmate isn't that special (mathematically, that is) -
(3:59) A great song by
Tim Minchin -- thank you Science of Relationships (http://www.scienceofrelationships.com/)
for making me aware of it! [added
Parties! - (4:22)
This story from the Science of Relationships includes a
video clip from the Colbert Report describing a dating
fad: Attending pheromone parties. [added
in a backward world" - (5:01)
for your entertainment [added
male/female roles in relationships - amusing video - in two
parts [added 6/25/12]
date = sex? - (1:44)
A clip from the show The Big Bang Theory raises the question
of whether "the idea that the third date is the 'sex date,' the
date when it is deemed appropriate for a new couple to have sex"
is a social norm or just a myth. [added
and loss aversion - (4:21)
Steven Neuberg and his colleagues Yexin Jessica Li and Douglas Kenrick
"discuss their research on how evolutionary motives such as mating
and self-protection influence individuals' sensitivity to loss aversion."
and relationships - (2:47)
Psychologist discusses research on our heavy consumption of technology
and its link to relationship happiness/success. When you are done
reading this issue at your computer or phone make sure that you
go share it with a partner or kid or Juggalo. [added
and irrationality - (6:01)
Dan Ariely discusses decision making in the dating scene. Here
- (5:28) is a second video
on the topic. [added
is French kissing called in France? - (1:52)
Here's a cute little video montage of kissing accompanied by some
facts including the answer to the above question. [added
spousal conflict impair the immune system? - (6:14)
video and text describing an interesting study testing this question
retouching - (2:29)
This video illustrates how many of the images we see are often modified
to eliminate blemishes and make more appealing. [added
online dating is so unsatisfying - (7:41)
Watch an interview with Dan Ariely discussing the topic. [added
in Japan - (9:35)
This form of social isolation, Hikikomori, in which, typically,
young boys and men lock themselves in their rooms for years in some
cases, appears to be fairly unique to Japan. This link takes you
to Part 1 of the video. You can find Part 2 on the video page. [added
- (3:54) That's physical
proximity to you young whippersnappers. Here's a song ("Somebody")
from Reba McEntire that captures well our tendency to choose from
those nearby. [added
and Relationships - Now that the excellent Science of Relationships
site has been around a bit (at least in Internet time), it has accumulated
a number of good resources for teaching. The site creators have graciously
compiled some of those resources and assignments at the link above.
of attractiveness - Ever seen any of those "Am I hot or not" sites?
Here is a long list of them that perhaps you or your students can
use in some project. [added 1/10/06]
a play - Chuck Huff asks his students to view three plays during
his Social Psychology course: Macbeth (two versions) and A Streetcar
Named Desire. Then he asks them to analyze the plays in terms of how
close relationships are portrayed.
from an Intimate Relationships course - Gary Lewandowski lets
students choose from a variety of assignments including comparing
popular press claims versus the research and creating a "how to" guide
for relationship success. [added 3/1/05]
exposure effect [added
Factors - Seinfeld Episode: Evolutionary factors in mate selection
can be seen in the episode in which they try to fix up George with
a date. He asks questions about his potential date's physical attributes
and she asks questions about George's status, power and resources.
Contributed by Steve Fein. [added 4/28/02]
attractiveness - Physical attractiveness plays a big role
in how we think of and respond to people. I've worked as a summer
camp counselor for the past two years and you have to try and treat
each kid the same but it is inevitable that you will have favorites.
I remember one year there were two really bad kids in particular who
were always getting into trouble. One was a little girl who was so
cute. She always had a cute little outfit on, here little ears were
pierced, and was hilarious. But she was always getting herself into
trouble or not listening. The other kid was a little overweight and
not so attractive boy who also knew just how to muster up trouble.
But when it came to punishing the two it was hard to be equal and
fair and generally what tended to happen is the cute girl would get
away with a lot more. She could somehow get us to forget or be less
mad about the trouble she had caused and distract us with her humor
or by other tactics. And the little boy would often get in more trouble
and get a lot less positive attention....Thinking back, my favorite
kids have never really been unattractive, and I even feel horrible
admitting that, but it's true. [added 4/16/08]
Attractiveness - Something funny came to mind while I was looking
over the section on physical attractiveness. Specifically, I was looking
at the idea that attractive children are given the benefit of the
doubt more often than less attractive children. This is so true!
I work with two three-year-old boys that can look at me with their
respective sets of baby blues and browns and melt me to the ground.
It is so difficult to discipline a child that looks so cute when they
look at you. In these situations, I consciously have to think about
what I'm doing in order to discipline the gorgeous kids the same way
I treat the other children.
Attractiveness - North Central College uses the "attractive"
idea to persuade people to attend the college. While going to class
on a couple of days, I remember seeing a photographer on campus taking
pictures of two or three attractive young students. I instantly thought
of the course catalogue. The young people on the cover will help emphasize
the stereotype of the student's physical appearance: happy,
intelligent, kind, sociable and successful.
(physical proximity)...again! - another good example -- a spoof from
The Onion -- hat tip to Jeff Ricker for this one [added
- Here's a song ("Somebody") from Reba McEntire that captures well
our tendency to choose from those nearby. [added 12/12/07]
(Physical Proximity) - When we discussed the idea that we make
friends with those close to us this made me think of the floor that
I live on now. Last year when we saw who was going to live on our
floor we were very upset. Our end of the hall was all football players
but the other end was all soccer players. Normally football hates
soccer. At first things were a little tense but after a while some
friendships developed. Because they were close it was easy to see
if they wanted to go eat or go out or something and we found out they
aren't as bad as we thought. If they didn't live close we would probably
hate them still.
-- there's a common source of argument. Does one person doing garbage
equate to the other ironing? Does one person doing laundry equate
to the other vacuuming? Early on in our marriage these issues cropped
up frequently. Now as I look at it, 16 years later, these just aren't
issues anymore. Each does what has to be done as it needs doing. Sometimes
one of us has more time than the other. Consideration of the other's
needs creates the equity anymore -- not the amount of equal effort.
That's where the twist builds from because you know the other person
will be there for you.
- When we first married, I worked full-time while my husband finished
college (before my liberated days). This was out of concern for his
and our welfare. I did not expect anything in return. Now sixteen
years and a family later, I am going to finish school. It is not easy.
My personality takes a real nose dive during semesters. My energy
level is good for squat. My husband does 75% of the housework. (The
other 25% doesn't get done.) My level of patience will never get me
a mother-of-the-year award. Yet in one of my reflective, depressive
moods last year, I asked my husband why he put up with it. His response
was "you put me through school years ago; it's the least I can do
now." That is love.
Men and women interpret sexual intent very differently
"Loneliness and self-centeredness appear to be mutually reinforcing"
"15 common social quirks that make you less likeable"
The psychology of eye contact - a good review of some of the research
Sexual arousal increased risk-taking in men and women equally
What do you share on Facebook? - Interesting research reveals some relationships between postings, motivations, and personality.
How a perfume company convinced scientists of human pheromones
power! - "But can the mere presence of flowers influence
actual relationship behavior? To test this question, a French researcher
randomly assigned female participants to watch a video of a male discussing
food while participants were either (a) sitting in a room decorated
with three vases full of flowers (roses, marigolds, and daisies),
or (b) sitting in a room decorated with empty vases. Women who sat
in the room with flowers rated the male in the video as sexier and
more attractive, and they were more willing to date him." Read
also about the two very cool follow-up studies. [added
liked face-to-face are also liked online - [added
world research on instant messaging - Answer: 6.6 degrees of separation
paradox of poygamy - "Contrary to popular belief, most women benefit
from polygynous society, and most men benefit from monogamous society.
This is because polygynous society allows some women to share a resourceful
man of high status." [added
smells and likeability - story of research finding that in humans
consciously undetectable odors alter social preferences [added
is the way we connect - an article about research on the role
laughter plays in our social world [added 11/17/07]
nude pictures focus attention" - research interpreted to suggest
an evolutionary benefit for attending to sexual stimuli [added
buddies: Do animals have friends?" - an intriguing question and
article from ScienceNews [added 6/9/04]
Those Who Like Us
like those who like us - [added 2/12/15]
relationships cartoon - Ahh, propinquity. [added
miraculously finds soulmate in hometown" - an amusing article
from the satirical online newspaper The Onion -- ahh, propinquity!
first date: Make sure your genes fit" - "People can
now check that their genes fit. Yep, genes -- as in our DNA -- before
going on a first date." [added 2/17/15]
attracted to body odor of those who vote like us - Seriously.
Wow. [added 2/17/15]
pain brings people together" - [added 2/17/15]
attract, but do they last?" - The answer is what I tell my students
to write on psych exams if they have no clue to the answer: It depends!
In this case the research suggests that it depends on the partners'
levels of self-control. [added 8/5/13]
music tastes indicate similar values which foretells attraction
“Do romantic partners help or hurt goal pursuit?” - “When it comes to supporting a (female) partner, actions speak louder than words. Try thinking of concrete ways that others have helped you pursue your goals, and do what you can to help others pursue their goals as well.”
The importance of interdependence in relationship success
Pumpkin Spice Latte! - What's its connection to relationships? Grab a warm one and have a read.
"Why do people swipe right (or left) on Tinder" - a nice infographic describing some research on the question
Can classical conditioning help long-distance relationships? - Interesting study of military marriages which endure long deployments of one member of the marriage
Does more sex go with a better relationship? - It may depend if you ask explicitly or implicitly.
Attractive people have shorter relationships, more interest in alternative partners
How to feel authentic in a relationship
he science of love - a series of articles about current research on relationships
t's the cuddling, stupid - Research has attempted to identify the primary reasons why more sex is correlated with greater happiness.
"10 comics that show what polyamorous love is really like"
Reduced grey matter when falling in love - What?? According to this research, those early in a romantic relationship have less grey matter in a specific region in the brain. So, if you have that area lesioned, will you fall in love with the first person you see after the operation?
"How our partners make us great" - This research identifies some variables in our partners which might predict our well being.
Men can apparently be trained to be better judges of women's sexual interest
One perspective on the modern single woman through comics
How your brain responds to rejection - "Immediately after we've been shunned, a new study shows our brains engage a subtle mechanism that alters our sense of whether other people are making eye contact with us, so that we think it is more likely that they are looking our way."
"Psychology predicts where your relationship is headed!" - Just send me $25.00 and I will....
"Does frequent sex lead to better relationships?" - Newlywed couples who have a lot of sex don't report any greater happiness explicitly, but implicitly they do. I think the lesson here is if you are going to get married, marry a newlywed!
"Responsive partners show two kinds of empathy"
More subtle forms of relationship aggression - Who is more likely to spread negative rumors about their partner, or exclude them from social circles, or withhold affection, and what effect does it have?
When is conflict in a relationship not a problem? - Wait, seriously, there is an answer to that question? Apparently, yes. If you feel understood by your partner you can weather conflicts much more easily. Oh, that sounds easy.
Who seeks out whom on dating sites? - Does my own perceived social mate value affect it? Does the matching hypothesis hold?
"Women copy other women's mate-choices" - "It is one of life's great secrets: women don't look for handsome men, they look for men with beautiful women."
Top 10 relationship dealbreakers - Research with college students found the most significant dealbreakers when it comes to forming a short-term or long-term relationship. Additionally, dealbreakers appear to be more important than dealmakers. Do your students agree?
Couples increasingly meet online - David Myers addresses a number of issues related to how the Internet has changed our lives, but I put it here because I really like the graph he included on this topic.
Relationship styles in the movie Frozen - Jana Lembke of Science of Relationships analyzes the attachment styles of the two sisters in Frozen.
No Girlfriend Comics - A series of comic strips of a character who just broke up with his girlfriend captures some relatable moments.
Phubbing! - Have you ever done it with your loved one? You know what I'm talking about. Snubbing him/her with your cellphone. Examples of "phubbing" include "My partner places his or her cellphone where they can see it when we are together." "My partner keeps his/her cellphone in their hand when he or she is with me." Phubbed again!
Can earthquakes also crumble relationships? - Sound weird, but this fascinating research suggests it is plausible. If you were standing on one leg you thought your relationship was as well. Got to love that embodied cognition.
"What do people do on Facebook when they are breaking up?"
"Do your preferences for a romantic partner influence your actual choice?"
Redefining self-concept after a break-up - Research found that "taken together, these findings suggest that the failure to redefine the self post-break-up contributes to greater breakup related distress."
Texting, sexting and avoidant attachment - "In short, if you’re with an avoidant person, they might not text you much. But when they do send messages, they are more likely to be sexual."
Commitment in relationships often requires executive control
We don't trust the "perfect" online dating profile - a little too perfect
"Motivational distortion" in relationships - "At least that’s the theory offered by psychological scientist Edward Lemay of the University of Maryland, who has been studying what he calls “motivational distortion” in relationships. According to Lemay, our desire to bond to another person in a close, committed relationship is so strong that it can bias our thinking—distorting attention and memory and interpretation so that we see and believe what we want to be true. At the first International Convention of Psychological Science, this week in Amsterdam, Lemay discussed his and others’ work on this powerful cognitive bias."
goal-minded pursuit and your relationship - "The implemental
mindset that youre in once youve chosen to pursue a goal
makes you more single-minded and less inclined to pursue other goals,
especially if focusing on those goals could conflict with your chosen
goal. So goals to improve or maintain your relationship will take
a backseat to the pursuit of the personal goal. If the relationship
seems good, then youll just let it be and not try to work on
it because you assume your relationship will be fine. In contrast,
if the relationship seems bad, then youll also let it be and
not work on it because its hopeless. The authors conducted three
additional studies to test their hypothesis that this one-sided view
makes people less inclined to work on their relationships." [added
a partner's successes leaves relationships on ice" - [added
visibility on Facebook?" - Can you tell when someone on Facebook
is in a relationship? [added 2/17/15]
differences in flirting motivation - "Big surprise: mens
flirting is more motivated by sex, while womens flirting is
more motivated by having fun or becoming closer to another person." [added 2/17/15]
first date: Make sure your genes fit" - "People can
now check that their genes fit. Yep, genes -- as in our DNA -- before
going on a first date." [added 2/17/15]
don't like you, but... - This research suggests that we sometimes
end up with incompatible partners in relationships because it is just
too hard to reject others. [added 2/17/15]
user experiments - You may have heard that Facebook is running
little experiments on its users. It was recently revealed that a large
dating site, OKCupid is doing the same. "One experiment linked
users up with people who were deemed a bad match a 30 percent
compatibility rate based on OKCupids algorithm. OKCupid labeled
these bad matches as being 90 percent compatible to see if people
could like each other even if they had nothing in common." [added 2/17/15]
phone intervention - A guy in a bar won't take no for an answer?
Give him this number. [added 2/12/15]
importance of buffering to relationships - In one study, "Anxious
partners felt more negative emotions and were less accommodating,
but their partners displayed more accommodating strategies if they
were themselves more committed to the relationship. And these accommodations
led the anxious partner to become more accepting and positive during
the tense conversation. In other words, buffering had immediate benefits,
allaying fears and creating a more constructive emotional dynamic." [added 2/12/15]
more likely to be unfaithful? Avoidant people - Nathan DeWall
reports on research he and his colleagues conducted: "1. Avoidant
peoplethose who keep others at arms length, prefer to
depend on themselves instead of others, and feel uncomfortable getting
emotionally close to their partnersare more likely to engage
infidelity. In one set of studies, my colleagues and I recruited people
in relationships, measured their level of avoidance, and showed:
Their eyes gravitate toward attractive alternatives to their romantic
They report more positive attitudes toward infidelity
They report more intentions to engage infidelity
They report engaging in infidelity more often than others
This effect is true for both men and women.
A lack of commitment explains why avoidant people engage in more infidelity.
Avoidant people dislike getting close to others. Hence, they have
a tough time feeling strong relationship commitment. Their lack of
commitment might make avoidant people feel safe and secure. But it
also weakens the commitment that often keeps urges to engage in infidelity
at bay." [added 2/12/15]
consensually non-monogamous? Avoidant people - What is consensually
non-monogamous? "This is a psychological term researchers use
to describe people who engage in more than one romantic relationships
simultaneously, and whose relationship partners know and approve."
4-5% of people report being in that category. So, do avoidant people
in monogamous relationships believe that they are really being unfaithful
when they are unfaithful? [added 2/12/15]
humor during an argument - can be helpful [added 2/12/15]
cartoons - In case you need one - Would sending a breakup cartoon
count as a good way to break up with someone? Would they get it? [added
of being single - good blog entry on the topic [added
you want a happy or sad breakup song? - After a non-interpersonal
loss people prefer listening to happy music, but prefer sad music
after an interpersonal loss. [added 8/5/13]
science behind 3 popular dating apps" - [added
the sexual double standard? - Interesting discussion of why promiscuous
men are studs while promiscuous women are sluts [added
+ Timing = Relationship Success" - a good discussion of these
elements in a Science of Relationships blog entry [added
humor - [added 8/5/13]
and relationships - Don't know yet what "catfishing" is? Read
all about it in this blog entry. [added 8/5/13]
ways to improve your relationship - A good infographic summarizing
research on the topic -- clicking on the image takes you to an article
that elaborates on it. Surprisingly, "don't get catfished" is not
one of the seven. [added 8/5/13]
love literally hurts" - an APS Observer article looking
at the neural link between social and physical pain [added
implicit processes tell us about romantic attachment" - another
good APS Observer article [added 8/5/13]
humor - more
here - When I want my dose of relationship humor I always turn
to Science of Relationships. Unlike relationships, it never
disappoints. [added 8/5/13]
makes a "jealous type"? - good blog entry on jealousy [added
drum-off - interesting little video of some relationship conversation
through drumming [added 8/5/13]
love - interesting New York Times article on the research
of new love [added 8/5/13]
non-monogamy - [added 8/5/13]
dating - Review research about dealing with all the choices [added
gift giving undermine relationships? - [added 1/12/13]
did not evolve for romance" [added 1/12/13]
we like funny in possible mates? - good discussion of some research
on what men and women find attractive in the opposite sex in terms
of humor [added
over for "muffins" - Ahh, what did we do before Science of
Relationships? [added 1/12/13]
relationship humor - and more,
and more - from Science of Relationships [added 1/12/13]
to make "couples friends" - Here's an interesting blog entry about
how couples can improve the quality of their life and their relationship
if they find other couples with which to be friends. [added
little relationship humor - Along with thoughtful and interesting
blog entries like the above, Science of Relationships also throws
in a good does of relationship humor as well. Just like any good relationship
should. And here's a little more humor. [added
"cracked" relationship advice - For your amusement, possibly. [added
watching The Bachelorette bad for your relationship?" - interesting
blog post from Science of Relationships [added
says 'I love you' first in a relationship?" - [added
humor - Okay, I found it amusing. [added
Day humor - [added
style predicts relationship longevity" - "Recently, researchers
have found that similarity in communication patterns predicts mutual
romantic interest and relationship stability 3 months down the road.
And we’re not even talking about similar use of big fancy words.
Rather, it’s the small words that we would generally consider
“fillers”, such as pronouns (I, her, that), articles (a,
an, the), conjunctions (and, but, because), and the like that matter.
In what researchers call “language style matching’”
(or LSM, for short), individuals’ conversations may begin to
subtly become synchronous. Sometimes our conversations are high in
LSM, which means there is a lot of matching in language use, whereas
other conversations are low in LSM, which means we are speaking to
one another in quite different styles. In the researchers’ first
study, 40 speed-dating couples had their 4-minute interaction recorded,
and transcriptions of these interactions were entered into a language
analysis computer program. Couples who had higher LSM (again, they
matched in their use of pronouns, articles, conjunctions, etc.) were
more likely to show mutual romantic interest in one another. This
effect was not due to the total number of words being spoken in the
conversation (that is, it’s not because two “Chatty Cathys”
were paired up and talking each other’s ears off)." [added
vs. Time in relationships - another good cartoon/graph [added
committed couples use more plural nouns - Warning: Scary picture. [added
and relationship violence - Another good blog entry from the Science
of Relationships site -- what effect might all these teenage vampire
movies/shows/stories have on relationship abuse? [added
you date a Democrat/Republican/Libertarian...?[added
style and long-lasting relationships - Does a more secure attachment
style lead to better success in maintaining long-term relationships?
Like relationships themselves, it's complicated. [added
15 sources of conflict in relationships - From the excellent blog
Science of Relationships, created by Ben Le, Gary Lewandowski, and
Tim Loving. That's right, Dr. Loving. [added
equation: half your age + 7 years - "A common rule of thumb, at
least on the internet, is that it’s okay to be interested in
someone 'half your age plus seven' years. According to this rule,
it would not be creepy for a 30 year old to date a 22 year-old, but
an 18 year-old would be off-limits. Although this is a fun rule of
thumb, what does research say about age preferences for potential
is blind. Your friends aren't." - Blog entry describes research
on whether you can predict your own relationship's breakup better
than your friends can. [added
is abstract, but sex is concrete" - Here is some interesting research
on how generating abstract versus concrete construals can affect how
we think about relationships. If you have some difficulty explaining
the concept of construals to your students, this example provides
a nice way of describing the concept. [added
complicated psychology of revenge" - from the APS Observer [added
humor! - Some amusing cartoons found at the excellent blog Science
of Relationships; a second
one, and a third. [added
romantic U.S. city? - I always like to see interesting ways of
measuring things. Most romantic city? The one that rented the highest
percentage of romantic comedies through Redbox (a kiosk often located
in front of or inside stores from which someone can rent a movie).
Follow the link to find out if it is your city... [added
and attraction - "A recent study indicates that men are more likely
than women to use humor when getting to know potential romantic partners,
and that women use sense of humor as a criteria for evaluating partners
more than men. In addition, when analyzing online personal ads, researchers
found that men tended to mention their own sense of humor, while women
stated a preference for a funny partner. Finally, a woman’s
rating of a man’s sense of humor predicts her romantic interest
in him. However, a man's perception of a woman’s sense of humor
is unimportant for his desire to get to know her." [added
couple good relationship cartoons - first
one - I added the new site Science
of Relationships to the front page of this site. The site has
already produced a lot of good blog entries commenting on the topic.
They also occasionally include some good cartoons like those above. [added
the men of the African Aka tribe the best fathers in the world?" - [added 5/30/11]
is worse.... - your partner having a heterosexual or a homosexual
affair?" Men and women answer differently. [added 12/24/10]
"invisible" support to a loved one - "Recipients whose partners
provided more invisible emotional support such as reassurance or expressions
of concern, but believed they had received less emotional support,
experienced greater declines in anger and anxiety. This was also true
for invisible practical support such as advice or direct offers of
assistance. Additionally, in the case of invisible practical support,
recipients experienced increases in self-efficacy." [added
dating - This blog entry provides a good compilation of research
on online dating. [added 10/30/10]
songs make women more open to dates" - [added 7/21/10]
romance? Show a little gratitude" - Men and, particularly, women
were less likely to break up with someone who had showed small acts
of gratitude. However, no manipulation occurred, so is the above headline
infidelity - "Research has documented that most men become much
more jealous about sexual infidelity than they do about emotional
infidelity. Women are the opposite, and this is true all over the
world." The prevailing theory is an evolutionary one: "Men learned
over eons to be hyper-vigilant about sex because they can never be
absolutely certain they are the father of a child, while women are
much more concerned about having a partner who is committed to raising
a family." This new research, however, suggests a different explanation. [added
during speed dating - "Women hoping to appeal to speed-dating
partners should try subtly mimicking the words and body-language of
their dates. That's according to Nicholas Gueguen whose new study
shows that women who mimic are rated by men as more sexually attractive." [added 1/18/10]
falling in love make us more creative?" - "A new study demonstrates
that thinking about love--but not about sex--causes us to think more
'globally,' making it easier to come up with new ideas." [added
dating - good article describing how the phenomenon of speed dating
has provided a wealth of opportunities for research [added
dating - interesting blog entry about how online dating has been
frustrating, leading to some new approaches [added
female dolls for men - "Thousands of men are shelling out $6,500
for hyper-realistic dolls that answer all their needs -- and don't
talk back." No mention in the article of women buying men dolls. What
would a male doll that answered all of women's needs be like? [added
hidden purpose of chat-up lines" - Why do men use pick-up lines?
One study investigates that "chat-up lines may be a way for men to
select for a particular type of woman." [10/13/07]
quest for romance - An interesting essay in the Feb. 2007 issue
of the APS Observer summarizes some research. [added
does new love look like? - a New York Times article describing
some research in which brain scans were conducted of newly-in-love
individuals while they were looking at pictures of their beloved [added
of Americans have had pre-marital sex - An extensive review of
data from the Guttmacher Institute finds that "by age 20, 77% of respondents
had had sex, 75% had had premarital sex, and 12% had married; by age44,
95% of respondents (94% of women, 96% of men, and 97% of those who
had ever had sex) had had premarital sex. Even among those who abstained
until at least age 20, 81% had had premarital sex by age 44. Among
cohorts of women turning 15 between 1964 and 1993, at least 91% had
had premarital sex by age 30. Among those turning 15 between 1954
and 1963, 82% had had premarital sex by age 30, and 88% had done so
by age 44." [added 12/30/06]
MySpace - Confused about how MySpace and other social networking sites work?
Here's one explanation of MySpace from the How Stuff Works web site. [added 7/6/06]
in America" - The first report is a
summary of survey data of young singles collected by the Pew Research
Center. [added 7/6/06]
in relationships - "Alcohol problems in intimate relationships:
Identification and intervention" is a guide from the National Institute
on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. [added 1/8/06]
science of love: BBC / PBS - two different sites addressing this question [added
Marriage and Divorce
"Dating apps linked to rise in interracial marriages" (1:52)
"How self _expression_ replaced love as the most important part of a marriage" - interesting historical essay by Eli Finkel about the evolution of marriage in the U.S.
"What's it like to be engaged in the 21st century?" - The fine folks (researchers) at Science of Relationships in collaboration with the Loving Lab (awww) at the University of Texas at Austin are studying this underinvestigated question. They will be releasing results on the Science of Relationships site in the coming days, but they offer a nice infographic with their main questions and a sneak peak at some of their results at the above link.
Can a good marriage make you healthier? - "As the scientists report in a forthcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science. Perceived responsiveness was associated with both steeper cortisol slope and higher wakeup cortisol level. Importantly, this link between responsiveness and healthy cortisol was driven, at least in part, by diminishing negative emotions over the decade. In other words, believing that one’s partner cares—this perception leads to a decline in negative emotions, which in turn affects cortisol—and ultimately health."
Negative effects of emotional suppression - "The team found marital quality decreased over the study period to the extent that husbands suppressed their emotions during that time."
to handle divorce - Two researchers at Science of Relationships bravely discuss their impending divorce and what research suggests
are the best ways for them to deal with it. [added
approval versus legal status" - a great graph from xkcd
comics [added 2/17/15]
and marital satisfaction - I always thought my wife looked cute
in those genes. [added 2/12/15]
rather than conscious, evaluations good predictors of marriage satisfaction
- Or as the author of this article, Ben Le, states, "our unconscious
feelings about our partners might be the Magic 8-Ball when it comes
to future marriage satisfaction." [added 2/18/14]
husbands provide sensitive support - ... it benefits the relationship
of matching between partners predicts divorce" - [added
cohabitation detrimental to marriage? - Dylan Selterman, at
Science of Relationships, provides a nice review of the controversy
and what the research actually says. [added
states of marriage and divorce" - This Pew Research Center report
is a state-by-state analysis of the current status of marriage and
divorce. [added 1/18/10]
of healthy adult marriages? - A report from the Rand Corporation
looks at adolescent romantic relationships as precursors of healthy
adult marriages. [added 12/1/07]
"To please your friends tell them what they already know"
"Two key factors that influence adolescent girls' relationships"
We laugh differently with friends than with strangers
unexpected key to kids' popularity" - Nope, not being a psychology
teacher's kid. You'll have to read it. [added 2/17/15]
do we offer versus request support? - Casual friends offer support;
close friends offer and request support. [added 8/5/13]
to downers - "Have you ever wanted to share good news with friends
but were afraid they would rain on your parade because they’re
downers? Researchers recently discovered that people avoid disclosing
positive information to low self-esteem friends and romantic partners
in order to avoid a negative interaction (e.g., the 'downer' pointing
out the downside). Interestingly, we don’t keep the good news
to ourselves to protect our close others’ feelings – we
primarily focus on our own outcomes!" [added
is the new handshake - Interesting New York Times article
describes an apparent trend in which teenagers regular hug each other
as greetings, including between males. [added
How to make your face look younger - Contrast! Our brains love it. How to make it look older? Have kids.
The most attractive facial feature on women... - Besides contrast. The lips! According to this research they are a big winner. That's where our eyes go most.
We prefer brands with faces, especially if we are lonely - Would we be more willing to read the journal articles in which the authors' faces were included?
Chicago Face Database - a large, normed, freely-available database of faces for research use
"Familiar faces look happier than unfamiliar ones"
"Women find this much facial hair most attractive" - Check your face and then check out this research.
The handsome son effect - "Women rated men's faces as more attractive when they were shown alongside a good-looking son."
and symmetry - Fun page allows you to see what 15 celebrities
would look like if they had two "right" sides or two "left"
sides to their faces. See how asymmetrical even the beautiful people
are. [added 2/17/15]
caregiving and later romantic success - interesting long-term
study using a novel measure [added 2/17/15]
Right or Mr. Right Now (nice line, Nathan) - Your eye gaze tells
whether your mind is thinking romance (face) or sex (body). [added
10 most interesting dating studies of 2014" - an infographic
- Whoa! This is a cool site. Created by a couple researchers, this
site provides access to a lot of studies readers can participate
in, cool demos in which you can average different faces or transform
faces by criterion such as age, and more. Here
are the results of one of the researchers' studies in which they
created an average woman's face for every country. Here
is a story about this research. H/T to Marianne Miserandino. [added
of the titans: Familiarity vs. Averageness - It's cool when
researchers come up with ways to pit two powerful phenomena against
each other. Who wins this cage match? [added 8/5/13]
U.K.'s most beautiful female face? - [added
determines female facial beauty? - A "new golden ratio" is purportedly
found in this study: "Female faces were judged more attractive when
the vertical distance between their eyes and the mouth was approximately
36 percent of the face's length, and the horizontal distance between
their eyes was approximately 46 percent of the face's width. Interestingly,
these proportions correspond with those of an average face." [added
databases - If you are doing research on faces, or want to use
the stimuli for other purposes [added 1/18/10]
or without makeup - Marianne Miserandino passed along this interesting
reminder of how carefully the famous and beautiful guard the perception
of their beauty. The French version of Elle magazine has released
covers of famous stars with and without makeup. [added
versus averageness - A summary of some good research continuing
to look at these two factors in our perception of attractiveness
-- the question addressed here is, how do you tease out these two
factors independently? [added 7/11/09]
it really impossible to ignore an attractive face?" - [added
the next president have asymmetrical eyebrows? - amusing article
from The Onion [added
"After listening to music, females find males more attractive" - no effect found for men
Why do attractive individuals earn more? - Perhaps not because they are attractive. "Physically more attractive workers may earn more, not necessarily because they are more beautiful, but because they are healthier, more intelligent, and have better personality traits conducive to higher earnings, such as being more Conscientious, more Extraverted, and less Neurotic."
Attractive people have shorter relationships, more interest in alternative partners
"What make a person in uniform more attractive?"
Sorry men, tattoos don't make you more attractive to women - According to a study in Poland, men thought that tattooed men were more attractive, but women said no. Women thought the tattooed men were worse prospects as partners or paents. But women did think the tattooed men were healthier.
Replication failure: The red effect - Are men more attracted to women wearing red? Previous research suggested so. These recent replications found no such evidence. But were the data in a red font when they looked at them?
Good storytelling males seen as more attractive, higher status - It's like that time I...
For women, benefits of attractiveness at work primarily depending on good grooming - according to this study
"What the 'ideal' man's body looks like in 19 countries" - Plenty of examples like this of women's bodies -- now it's men's turn.
appearance is, in part, socially constructed - Blog entry discusses
gender differences in our never-ending efforts to display beauty.
beautiful to play volleyball - "Critics say Sabina Altynbekova,
17, is so beautiful that it's a distraction to the sport. Even the
athlete's own coach says his team is increasingly about one player,
at least as far as the fans are concerned." Wow. This
link also addresses our obsession with attractiveness. [added
women perceive other women in red as more sexually receptive?"
- Men do. Do women do? [added 2/17/15]
in red seen as more sexually interested - "To understand why,
Pazda and his colleagues conducted a simple experiment. They showed
25 men a photo of a single woman doctored to look, in different
cases, like she was wearing either a red or white T-shirt. The researchers
then asked the volunteers to gauge, on a scale from 1 to 9, how
keen the model seemed to be on romance. In other words, the men
answered the question: 'Is she interested in sex?' Men interpreted
the red outfit as a signal that the woman was indeed more open to
sexual advances. In fact, the guys tended to grade the woman's disposition
to sex about 1 to 1.5 points higher when she was wearing a red rather
than a white tee, Pazda and colleagues report online this month
in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology." [added
mug shot goes viral - "Jeremy Meeks is a convicted felon,
an alleged gang member and is currently being held in jail on more
felony weapons charges. Bail has been set at $1,000,000. Thats
not a typical biography for an internet celebrity. Yet, Meeks has
a Facebook page with over 120,000 fans. His mother started a fundraising
page thats attracted 145 donations and over $2500 in one day.
And the hashtag #FreeJeremyMeeks is trending on Twitter. The positive
feelings are all related to his handsome mug shot, which
was posted by the Stockton Police Department on Facebook this week,
and quickly became a sensation. It is a stunning example of how the
American criminal justice system in which defendants have the
right to be judged by a jury of their peers is often influenced
by superficial attributes." [added 2/12/15]
students get better grades - Unfortunately this article confuses
correlation and causation, but the results are interesting. [added
some skin and others will think... - some significant and surprising
things about you. Read about the interesting studies. [added
beer goggles effect - Do people appear more attractive after you
have been drinking? Do you think you are more attractive? [added
you more or less attractive than you think? - This blog entry
describes a clever way of finding out, and the answer is..... [added
pickup lines work? - It depends! If the man is attractive and
the woman is looking for a short-term relationship, the type of line
didn't matter. But for a long-term relationship, women preferred direct
and innocuous lines over cute or flippant lines. Men who use the more
direct and innocuous lines are perceived as more trustworthy and intelligent.
What do they mean by a cute pickup line? See here.
men prefer butts or boobs? - I'm not going to say "It depends."
I'm not going to say anything. I'll just let you read the research.
do women prefer.... - a full beard, heavy stubble, light stubble,
or a cleanly shaven face? [added 8/5/13]
he can just carry around a guitar case - very interesting study
and attractiveness - If you were asked which two items (from chocolate,
hair spray, or a plastic bag) you would take to a deserted island
and explain why, would you give a humorous response? Would that make
you more attractive? [added 8/5/13]
attractiveness, personality, and values - Sam Sommers reviews
research finding that we believe physically attractive individuals
are more conscientious, extraverted, and open to experience. Not true.
However, the researchers found that physically attractive people did
differ in their values. Specifically, they were more traditional and
conformed more to societal expectations. [added 1/12/13]
Depends on the context - Sam Sommers reviews some research that
suggests whether we find someone attractive is also tied to the context
in which we view that person. Hey, Sam, we get it: Situations Matter.
Why don't you just write a book or something? [added
downside of attractiveness - Same-sex others reviewing your job
application may respond more negatively to your attractiveness. Here's
another link on the topic. [added
and attraction - Sam Sommers provides a good summary of some research
on how we are attracted (and want to sit by) similar others.
boosts trust, and attractiveness in more masculine male faces
- Interesting study -- more masculine males can be seen as more dangerous.
But a shot of oxytocin up the nose caused both males and females to
view the more masculine males as more attractive. [added
rate happy men less attractive than proud men; opposite for women
- I'm embarrassed to say that male shame was even more attractive
than happy, smiling men to women. [added
is in the mind of the beholder" - a good article in the APS Observer
reviewing research on what we find attractive and the benefits of
medicalization of beauty - Using the new TV show, Bridalplasty,
in which brides-to-be compete for cosmetic surgery, this blog entry
explores how beauty, along with other phenomena, has become "medicalized."
of leg length - Yes, we've measured eye width, cheekbone height,
and all sorts of facial features in determining what we find attractive.
Now we learn that "male and female silhouettes with short and excessively
long legs were perceived as less attractive across all nations." [added
Disney characters promote "beauty is good" stereotype? - abstract
of article that suggests they just might [added
we attracted to our relatives (and ourselves)? - Here is an interesting
blog entry describing research suggesting that we are attracted to
faces that look like ours and our relatives, perhaps suggesting that
an incest taboo is "necessary" for that reason. [added
Men on top, women on the bottom
- "If you're hoping to increase your online appeal to the opposite
sex, you might want to consider where on the screen you place your
photo. A study that's in press at Social Cognition has shown that
women rate men's photos as more attractive when they're placed near
the top of the screen. By contrast, men rate women's photos as more
attractive when they're located near the bottom of the screen." [added
"Importance of attractiveness
depends on where you live" - Urban? It matters. Rural? Not so
much. [added 1/18/10]
unwanted kiss from a moral man" - This study asks would you rather
receive an unwanted kiss from a moral man or a consensual kiss from
an immoral one. [added 1/18/10]
dig men in flashy cars" - "Previous studies have shown that male
attractiveness can be enhanced by manipulation of status through,
for example, the medium of costume. The present study experimentally
manipulated status by seating the same target model (male and female
matched for attractiveness) expressing identical facial expressions
and posture in either a 'high status' (Silver Bentley Continental
GT) or a 'neutral status' (Red Ford Fiesta ST) motor-car." [added
Boyle - Lots of good social psych in the Susan Boyle story. If
you are not familiar with it read the above. More here.
voices most attractive - [added 10/11/08]
girl mimed Olympics ceremony song - You may have heard about this
-- the young girl who sang a song as part of the Olympics was not
deemed attractive enough to be on display, so a more attractive girl
replaced her on stage and mimed the song.
there a "beauty premium" on TV game shows? - interesting study
girl killed: Nation unshaken by not-so-tragic death" - An amusing
article from the satirical online newspaper The Onion [added
in the election process - a study "The looks of a winner: Beauty,
gender, and electoral success" looks at the role of attractiveness
in Finland's politics. [added 12/30/06]
Symmetry Project - This is a very interesting project in which
researchers "focus on the possibility that dancing ability may correlate
with the dancer's degree of bodily symmetry, commonly used in evolutionary
studies to measure developmental stability and hence genetic quality."
Read what they found, and watch some of the dance video as well. Also
read a related research
article published in Nature. [added 2/22/06]
is sexy? - A columnist notes that U.S. Patrick Fitzgerald showed
up on a sexiest man list despite lacking "conventional" physically
attractive traits. The columnist asks, "Is there a female equivalent
to a 'sexy' Patrick Fitzgerald?" In other words, it raises the question
of differences between what men and women find attractive. [added
women rate other women as uglier" - interesting article describing
research about possible hormonal influences on attractiveness ratings
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