External Link

The dark side of oxytocin

ScienceDaily just posted about a great literature review regarding the hormone oxytocin. Although it appears that oxytocin is involved in social activities that include feelings of closeness (such as sex, kissing, nurturing behaviors, etc.), its effects have been greatly overstated and misinterpreted. People have gone so far as to suggest hugging a potential romantic partner for 30 seconds when you first meet them, because it releases oxytocin and will make them like you more. (We think that a 30 second hug at the end of a first date is probably creepy enough to negate any hormonal effects. Really, give it a shot; thirty seconds is a lot longer than it sounds like.)

An important point made by the article is that the effects of oxytocin are (as is so often the case when looking at the way our brains function) far more complex. It may in fact be the case that oxytocin is less a determinant of “closeness” and more involved in what psychologists call approach motivation. This can include feelings, like anger and anxiety, that we are more likely to label as unpleasant.

For more information about the complex effects of oxytocin, read the original post:

For a hormone, oxytocin is pretty famous. It’s the “cuddle chemical” — the hormone that helps mothers bond with their babies. Salespeople can buy oxytocin spray on the internet, to make their clients trust them. It’s known for promoting positive feelings, but more recent research has found that oxytocin can promote negative emotions, too.

Read the rest of the post at the original site, and be sure to visit ScienceDaily: Relationship News!

‘Mirroring’ might reflect badly on you

This is a great review of some recent research on “mirroring” (or copying others’ body language). Older studies confirmed that people who are romantically interested in each other, or in romantic relationships, mirror each other’s nonverbal behaviors. Mistaking correlation (two things occurring together, regardless of cause) for causality (when one occurrence actually causes another), many have misinterpreted these results. For years now, people have been encouraged to copy body language in social situations such as flirting, job interviews, etc. ScienceDaily reviews an upcoming paper in the prestigious journal Psychological Science in which the authors dispute this advice.

Give it a read:

The benefits of body-language mimicry have been confirmed by numerous psychological studies. And in popular culture, mirroring is frequently urged on people as a strategy — for flirting or having a successful date, for closing a sale or acing a job interview. But new research suggests that mirroring may not always lead to positive social outcomes. In fact, sometimes the smarter thing to do is to refrain.

Read the rest of the post at the original site, and be sure to visit ScienceDaily: Relationship News!

Attachment Theory: Explaining Relationship “Styles”

Science of Relationships had an interesting blog post a couple weeks ago about attachment theory. The author notes that attachment style can and does change over time; it can change naturally in response to growth and maturation, based on changes in the environment (e.g., supportive vs. chaotic), and due to the formation of relationships. Something to add is that research has also suggested that psychotherapy has a direct impact on attachment style.

Be sure to read the post on the Science of Relationships site:

Sometimes it’s easy to spot insecure people. They could be highly jealous, petty, paranoid, or emotionally distant. They could resist being touched or comforted when they’re upset, or they could go from being happy to furious at the drop of a hat, leaving their partners scratching their heads.

Fortunately, there’s an explanation for these behaviors, and it lies in “attachment theory.”

Read the rest of the post at the original site, and be sure to visit Science of Relationships!

How Can I Tell if Someone is Interested in Me?

Science of Relationships just posted a great new blog entry about flirting and judging another person’s interest in you. It turns out that a great deal of interest is shown non-verbally, but these signals can be confusing and hard to interpret. You should have a look as the post on their site:

A reader recently asked: How can I tell if someone is interested in me?

Deciphering romantic interest is a difficult endeavor. On the one hand, if you fail to notice someone’s interest in you, you miss out on the high of realizing someone thinks you’re all that, not to mention the missed opportunity to form a relationship with that person. On the other hand, if you incorrectly think someone is interested in you (what researchers refer to as a ‘false positive’), you risk wasting valuable time and effort flashing your proverbial peacock feathers. You also open yourself up to the sting of rejection and embarrassment you might feel upon getting shot down after making your approach. Ouch. Worse, misperceiving romantic or sexual interest plays a role in sexual harassment1 and sexual assault.2 That’s a definite – and potentially illegal – ouch.

Read the rest of the post at the original site, and be sure to visit Science of Relationships!

Teens look to parents more than friends for sexual role models

Interesting new study out of the University of Montreal. It seems that, at least in homes where sexuality is discusses, teens learn more about sex from their parents than their friends or the media.

Check it out:

The results of a national online study show that 45 percent consider their parents to be their sexuality role model. Shattering stereotypes that parents and society hold about teen sexuality, the survey also revealed that only 32 percent looked to their friends and just 15 percent took inspiration from celebrities.

Read the rest of the post at the original site, and be sure to visit ScienceDaily: Relationship News!

Do Nice Guys Really Finish Last?

Interesting post at Science of Relationships summarizing some research on “nice guys.” As it turns out, it isn’t as straightforward as many people assume.

The post is definitely worth a read:

We often hear tales of women forsaking the nice, kind, dependable man for the brooding, confident bad boy, but do women really prefer bad boys? New research from the University of British Columbia suggests that perhaps they do, at least in terms of sexual attractiveness.

Across two studies, women rated happy, smiling men as less attractive than proud, confident men. The opposite pattern emerged for men’s ratings of women; happy women were rated as more attractive than proud women.

Read the rest of the post at the original site, and be sure to visit Science of Relationships!

Use of human voice in social media can help organizations build relationships

Very cool study out of Missouri School of Journalism that was picked up by Science Daily. It’s not surprising that people show a preference for social networking that includes human voice; after all, it’s very hard to convey emotion via text :) ! It would seem like a natural extension of this research to test a voice greeting on dating sites. Check it out:

Researchers have found that utilizing a personal human voice when communicating online leads to much higher user satisfaction ratings than impersonal communication.

Read the rest of the post at the original site, and be sure to visit ScienceDaily: Relationship News!

Does Cupid play politics? That ‘something special’ might be your mate’s political ideology

This is really interesting; for years psychologists have cited research which suggests that people like to date others who are similar to themselves (assuming that physical attractiveness and personality are the most important characteristics of similarity). This research suggests that similarity political beliefs are more important. Considering how a person’s politics often reflect their values (whether conservative or progressive), it makes sense that we look for people who vote like us. Read the post at Science Daily:

Though “variety is the spice of life” and “opposites attract,” most people marry only those whose political views align with their own, according to new research. Political scientists found that political attitudes were among the strongest shared traits and even stronger than qualities like personality or looks.

Read the rest of the post at the original site, and be sure to visit ScienceDaily: Relationship News!

Friends with Benefits: Are They as Complicated in Real Life as They are in the Movies?

Check out this great article about “friends with benefits” relationships from Science of Relationships:

The term “friends with benefits” (FWB) has become part of our vernacular in recent years and public interest in the topic appears to be surging. For example, this year alone brings two major motion pictures devoted exclusively to the subject, No Strings Attached (starring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman) and this summer’s Friends with Benefits (starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake). The concept has also been popularized by the ongoing FWB arrangement between Vinny and Snooki on the Jersey Shore (see here for more on the Vinny/Snooki saga).

One thing all of these media portrayals have in common is that they depict FWB relationships as complicated. Inevitably, somebody seems to get jealous and drama ensues. So does that match up with reality? Are these relationships really that difficult to manage?

Read the rest of the post at the original site, and be sure to visit Science of Relationships!