8 science stories on matters of the heart (with free access to research)

Personal traits and marriage prospects; Can Facebook help loneliness? Do emoticons work? Induced hypothermia helps heart attack survivors

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[divider]Many of Elsevier's most fascinating scientific studies are summed up in Elsevier's Research Selection, an email sent by the Elsevier Newsroom to health and science journalists. Research included is peer-reviewed and has been publicly available for no more than six weeks (usually as articles-in-press).

The research papers are available to credentialed journalists through free access to ScienceDirect, the world's largest repository of scientific full-text information.

For all of our readers, the studies featured here are freely available for three months, until May 2014.

This is a special edition in recognition of Valentine's Day, spotlighting some of the latest research on a range of topics.


Perfect  personalities

Personal Traits, Cohabitation, and Marriage

Social Science Research | http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2014.01.002
We'll live with the good looking guy, but we'll marry the nice guy

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This study, published in Personality and Individual Differences, explored the effects of personal traits on living with or marrying a romantic partner. Data on personal traits was collected from nearly 10,000 individuals of both sexes. The traits included: physical attractiveness and personality. Results showed that individuals may be more discerning about those who they accept marital offers from than those who offer cohabiting. For men, having an above-average personality is associated with a higher likelihood of them getting married, whereas above-average physical appearance is more likely to result in them cohabiting, which does not lead to marriage.

Perceptions of infidelity risk predict women's preferences for low male voice pitch in short-term over long-term relationship contexts

Personality and Individual Differences | http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2013.08.029
Men with low voices make good short-term prospects

Typically, women rate a lower-pitched man's voice as more attractive than a higher-pitched man's voice. At the same time, women also perceive men with lower-pitched voices as less likely to be faithful. This study, published in Personality and Individual Differences, looked at perceptions of fidelity predicted by women's voice preferences. Results showed women who rated lower-pitched men are more likely to commit infidelity, also rated them as a short-term relationship prospect.[divider]

Making a connection

How affective technologies can influence intimate interactions and improve social connectedness

International Journal of Human-Computer Studies | http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhcs.2013.09.007
Emoticons help to create intimacy in social networks

Digital communication such as text or instant messaging has brought with it new ways of using words and symbols. This study, published in the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, looked at the use of emoticons and the impact they have on intimate interactions and social connectedness. Results showed that increases in communicated emoticons lead to a strong a raised level of perceived intimacy, as long as they were user-initiated and not automatic. It was also found that affective technology has the power to enhance our social connectedness and, thereby, improve our health and well-being.

Loneliness and Facebook motives in adolescence: A longitudinal inquiry into directionality of effect

Journal of Adolescence | http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2013.11.003
New Facebook friends can help to ease loneliness

As Facebook has become more popular, many people worry that adolescents lose the ability to socialize in the real word. This study, published in the Journal of Adolescence, explored the relationship between Facebook use and peer-related loneliness. Results showed that adolescents use the social network for two purposes: firstly, utilizing their social skills and connecting with peers; secondly to make new friends. Those who used the site for social skills show an increase in loneliness over time, whereas those using the site to make new friends were more likely to feel less lonely.


Love predjudices

What's love got to do with it? Sexual prejudice predicts unitization of men in same-sex romantic relationships

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology | http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2013.12.002
Sexual prejudices affect how we see romantic couples

This study, published in Personality and Individual Differences, set out to test the hypothesis that those high in sexual prejudice would fail to form a single mental representation of a same-sex couple. Results showed that prejudiced individuals were more likely to rate same-sex couples as lower in cohesiveness than heterosexual couples, and prejudice predicted the use of couple category in impressions of romantically involved men.

Racial differences in the influence of female adolescents' body size on dating and sex

Economics & Human Biology | http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ehb.2013.11.001
Obese white women lose out on love

Body size is a prominent aspect of appearance and can play a role in attraction and the development of relationships. But does race play a part too? A study, published in Economics & Human Biology, investigates the effect of body size on dating and sexual experiences of White (non-Hispanic) and African American (non-Hispanic) female adolescents. Researchers found that obese white female adolescents are less likely to have been in a romantic relationship or to have experienced any kind of intimate relationship by the age of 19 than non-obese white females. No differences were observed between obese and non-obese African American females.[divider]

Heart health

Epidemiology of Heart Failure and Scope of the Problem

Cardiology Clinics  | http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccl.2013.09.009
Heart failure a major global issue

Of the major forms of cardiovascular disease, heart failure is the only one that is increasing in incidence and prevalence in most developed countries. With more than 23 million people worldwide being affected by heart failure each year, and a rise in mortality from the condition, survival rate is bleaker than it is for many cancers patients. This study, published in Cardiology Clinics, reveals the full scope of the issue of heart failure.

Cardiac arrest and hypothermia treatment-function and life satisfaction among survivors in the first 6 months

Resuscitation| | http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.resuscitation.2013.12.020
Induced Hypothermia improves quality of life for cardiac arrest survivors

When an individual suffers a heart attack, it often leads to other, knock-on incidents. Return of spontaneous circulation may trigger post-resuscitation syndrome which can entail neurological damage. In order to prevent this, many patients are given therapeutic hypothermia treatment, which lowers a patient's body temperature in order to help reduce these risks. This study, published in Resuscitation, looked at the quality of life in survivors of cardiac arrest that underwent hypothermia treatment to prevent spontaneous circulation. Results showed that at six months, satisfaction with life as a whole was seen in 70 percent of patients.[divider]

Elsevier Connect Contributor

Sacha BoucherieThe Elsevier Research Selection for Journalists is produced and distributed by the Elsevier Newsroom, which serves as an intermediary between the scientific community and general public. Press Officer 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.

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