What science says about love and attraction (with free access to research)
New research reveals the best color for women, the effects of daydreaming, and the impact of porn on newlyweds
By Sacha Boucherie Posted on 13 February 2015
For Valentine's Day, the Elsevier Newsroom is featuring research studies about love and relationships.
The listing is part of the Elsevier Research Selection (ERS), an email developed by the Elsevier Newsroom spotlighting interesting, topical research articles for health and science journalists. The research included is peer reviewed, has not been press-released or covered in the media, and is not embargoed.
Articles are available to credentialed journalists through free access to ScienceDirect, the world's largest repository of full-text scientific information.
In addition, Elsevier has made these articles freely available to the public until the end of March 2015.
Popping a cork this Valentine's Day? It might not go off with a bang
Journal of Colloid and Interface Science | doi:10.1016/j.jcis.2014.10.008
If you have reason to celebrate this Valentine's Day, you may decide to mark the occasion with a bottle of bubbly. But what's the trick to stop it gushing over, and you losing valuable liquid? A study published in the Journal of Colloid and Interface Science has examined the effects of factors such as transport, exterior temperature and opening of the container, on the equilibrium of pressure and concentration of carbon dioxide in gas and liquid form inside a champagne bottle. Specifically, the researchers looked at the consequences of shaking the bottle on pressure and found that, contrary to popular belief, shaking a bottle of champagne decreases the pressure inside.
Losing out on sweet dreams if you go to bed on an argument
Deep sleep after social stress: NREM sleep slow-wave activity is enhanced in both winners and losers of a conflict
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity | doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2014.12.022
It's said to not be healthy for your relationship if you go to sleep on an argument, but now research has revealed the effects on the quality of your sleep if you go to bed as the loser. Published in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, the study monitored sleep-wake patterns and sleep EEG in wild-type Groningen rats following an hour of social conflict. Whilst no significant differences were found between winners and losers in NREM sleep time, NREM sleep Slow Wave Activity and REM sleep time; REM time was suppressed in both groups the first few hours after conflict, and this continued for longer periods in losers.
The long and short of it; height doesn't matter!
Personality and Individual Differences | doi:10.1016/j.paid.2014.10.034
The phrase "tall, dark and handsome" is often used by women describing their ideal partner, but new research has now shown that height is not the be all and end all when women come to settle down with someone. The study, published in Personality and Individual Differences, has shown that less dominant women tend to be more attracted to taller male partners, and more dominant women prefer shorter men relative to their own height. Surprisingly however, this was not always reflected in their partner choice to father their children. This study suggests that there are many other factors that are considered when selecting the ideal partner to settle down with.
Raunchy red turns men's heads
Displays | doi:10.1016/j.displa.2014.05.009
Want to capture a man's attention, girls? It's time to accessorise with red! Research published in Displays shows that women carrying red-coloured gadgets can enhance their sexual attractiveness to men. In an experiment with different coloured laptops, results showed that the women who carried red laptops were perceived to possess a significantly higher level of attractiveness and sex appeal than those who carried laptops in other colours.
Why dreaming your day away could be good for you and your relationship
Love is the triumph of the imagination: Daydreams about significant others are associated with increased happiness, love and connection
Consciousness and Cognition | doi:10.1016/j.concog.2014.12.011
Ever find yourself daydreaming about your beloved? A study published in Consciousness and Cognition has now suggested that this could be a good thing for yourself and for your relationship. Daydreams involving others with whom the daydreamer had a high-quality relationship were found to be associated with increased happiness, love and connection. These effects are found to support the emotional benefits of daydreaming through increasing positive feelings towards daydreamers themselves and significant others.
What your take on casual sex says about you
Personality and Individual Differences | doi:10.1016/j.paid.2014.11.042
Personality traits and individual differences are important in understanding various aspects of human sexuality and relationships. One-night stands, booty-calls, and friends with benefits are all types of casual relationships, but what types of personalities seek casual relationships and which express an aversion? This study found that overall, men were more eager than women to engage in casual relationships. Both men and women with secure attitudes about love expressed a distaste for casual relationships but those individuals with dishonest traits reported involvement in a variety of casual sex scenarios. Those who show conscientious characteristics are likely to make the steadiest romantic partners as they avoid one-night stands and look for serious romantic relationships.
Bad boys and bad girls: which sex is more likely to forgive the wandering eye?
Journal of Experimental Psychology | doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2014.09.007
Relationships have their trials, and none are more stressful than when a partner cheats. But who is more likely to forgive an indiscretion? This study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology shows that women are more forgiving than men following an incident of cheating, and that it is less likely to affect their trust in other people. Men's faith in others, as well as in their partner is truly shaken however when a lover cheats. Who has the long-term hold over their partner? Evidence shows that it is women who are more likely to regain their partner's trust after repeatedly straying in a relationship.
The impact of porn on newlyweds
Internet pornography and relationship quality: A longitudinal study of within and between partner effects of adjustment, sexual satisfaction and sexually explicit internet material among newlyweds
Computers in Human Behavior | doi:10.1016/j.chb.2014.11.077
Adjusting to marriage in its first year can be tough and the use of internet porn may do more damage to a relationship than good. A study published in Computers in Human Behavior has investigated the impact of porn on newlyweds. The study showed that, a husbands' use of porn hinders their adjustment to marriage. When a husband shows sexual satisfaction, this decreases their wives' use of porn over the course of a year. The research also found that wives use porn to spice up their sex life when husbands show they are not satisfied, and when seeking relationship quality.
Elsevier Connect Contributor
Sacha Boucherie works closely with Elsevier's journal publishers, editors and authors at one end and with science journalists and reporters at the other end with the aim of spotlighting and promoting interesting, topical research articles. She is based in Elsevier's Amsterdam headquarters and holds a master's degree in social psychology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.