Friday, February 7, 2014

Love & Romance 7 Questions




1 “I love you” Who says it first?
 Men do but people think women do. Marissa Harrison and Jennifer Shortall (2011) reported that women and men think women fall in love and say “I Love you” first. But men in relationships reported they were the first to say “I love you.”

2 Do young people view interracial dating similarly?
In the U.S., slavery and laws prohibiting relationships between Black and White Americans provide a negative context for relationships between people who appear different based on skin color. There are of course scientific problems with the definition of race and appropriate terms to use.

A recent look at mixed race dating showed that young people use the terms Black and White to refer to their own group and members of the other group. In his qualitative study, Todd Schoepflin found the most favorable attitudes toward interracial dating were expressed by black men and white women compared to black women and white men at a predominantly white university. The most limited group appeared to be black women. The author reported statistics indicating it was less common for black women to marry white men. 

According to Elwood D. Watson, professor of history at East Tennessee State University, much has changed in the U.S. since the famous Loving case went before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Justices ruled against a Virginia law, which prohibited White-Black marriages. Polling data reveal generally high rates of approval for Black-White marriages in the U.S., which represents a dramatic change from the scant 4% approval by White Americans in 1958 compared to 84% last year. Black Americans report approval of Black-White marriages at 96%.

3 How do people feel about interfaith relationships?
 It’s complicated. Allison Sahl and Christie Batson looked at parental attitudes toward interfaith relationships in the U.S. Bible Belt. Religion seemed to be the most important factor. Those for whom religion was very important were more opposed to interfaith dating and marriage. And white parents were more opposed to mixed faith relationships than were black parents.

A recent news story about the son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's son in a relationship with a Norwegian woman sparked strong responses from many--including warnings about how grandparents would feel. The BBC reports some statistics for interfaith marriages between Jews and non-Jews. Last month, a U.S. billboard depicting an American soldier hugging a Muslim woman sparked considerable media response and avoidance by some corporate leaders, according to TIME magazine

4 Who is more attractive?
 Your current relationship partner looks better. According to Viren Swami and Lucy Allum, current relationship partners were rated as more attractive compared to oneself and former partners. Former relationship partners were also rated higher than oneself on several bodily characteristics.

5 How does the weather affect a romantic evening?
 In general, really cold temperatures get people thinking about warmth. And psychological warmth is connected to bodily warmth. And romantic movies can be “hot.” In a series of studies, Jiewen Hong and Yacheng Sun examined physical coldness and the desire to watch romantic movies. Two studies showed that being physically cold was linked to liking and being willing to rent a romantic movie. A second study found the link between coldness and liking romantic movies depended on views that romantic movies led to psychological warmth.

6 How does facing death encourage romance?
 Thinking about death has been linked to the importance of relationships—perhaps as a way to help cope with loss. In two experimental studies, Rebecca Smith and Emma Massey had college students complete an exercise that required one group to think about their death whilst another group completed a different activity. Those who faced their death were significantly more romantic than those in the control condition. But the increased romance was for those who also reported feeling insecure in their relationship attachment.

7 How do women and men view a FaceBook Official (FBO) relationship?
 Facebook allows people to declare themselves in a relationship. But do men and women have the same idea about that public status? Here’s what Jesse Fox and Katie Warber found: “women believe more strongly than men that FBO indicates exclusivity and seriousness. Women were also more likely than men to believe that FBO status yielded attention from their social network both online and offline. Participants also identified that there were both interpersonal and social reasons for wanting to go FBO, although men and women did not differ in their reasoning.”

Do you have a related story to share or a correction to offer? Please post a comment. I approve most comments.

Words of caution
For those unfamiliar with the behavioral sciences, it is important to know that the findings from a few studies do not establish a scientific law that will apply to all people in all cultures. The scientists explain the limitations in the discussion sections of their papers. Studies differ in many ways including the people in the sample and how the ideas like love and romance were measured. After a large number of studies have been completed, scientists have a better idea of human behavior patterns within a given culture.

Fox, J., & Warber, K. M. (2013). Romantic Relationship Development in the Age of Facebook: An Exploratory Study of Emerging Adults' Perceptions, Motives, and Behaviors. Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking, 16, 3-7. doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0288

Harrison, M. A., & Shortall, J. C. (2011). Women and Men in Love: Who Really Feels It and Says It First?. Journal of Social Psychology, 151, 727-736. doi:10.1080/00224545.2010.522626

Hong, J., & Sun, Y. (2012). Warm it up with love: The effect of physical coldness on liking of romance movies. Journal of Consumer Research, 39, 293-306. doi:10.1086/662613

Sahl, A., & Batson, C. D. (2011). Race and religion in the Bible belt: parental attitudes toward interfaith relationships. Sociological Spectrum, 31, 444-465. doi:10.1080/02732173.2011.574043

Schoepflin, T. (2009). Perspectives of interracial dating at a predominantly white university. Sociological Spectrum, 29, 346-370. doi:10.1080/02732170902761982

Smith, R., & Massey, E. (2012). Aspects of Love: The Effect of Mortality Salience and Attachment Style on Romantic Beliefs. Omega: Journal of Death & Dying, 66, 135-151.

Swami, V., & Allum, L. (2012). Perceptions of the physical attractiveness of the self, current romantic partners, and former partners. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 53, 89-95. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9450.2011.00922.x

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