Know More About Seinfeld and Love

When using pop culture as a reference for relationships, people may assume that Seinfeld is a poor choice. After all, the foursome used nearly any excuse to end their relationships with significant others, ranging from being a low talker to having “man hands.” However, I find the show to be extremely useful in illustrating an interesting point regarding interpersonal attraction — that of similarity between partners. But, before the show, let’s touch on the science.

The Science

Research has shown that we like others who are similar to ourselves (Byrne, 1961). In fact, research conducted at MIT, which examined the contacts made between people of different demographics on an online dating site, demonstrated that users opted for similarity (Fiore & Donath, 2005). However, when this similarity hits too close to home, it may actually dampen arousal and become problematic.

The idea that opposites attract is a common misconception. Instead, birds of a feather flock together. We choose people who are similar to ourselves, especially when it comes to our values, beliefs, and morals. The principle by which we choose similar others to affiliate with can be illustrated nicely by assortative mating. Assortative mating involves the nonrandom coupling of individuals who resemble one another on one or more characteristics (Buss, 1984; Watson, Beer, & McDade-Montez, 2013).

Beyond interests, recent research demonstrates that we also prefer people who look like us. Yes, look like us.

In a 2010 study by Fraley and Marks, a series of experiments was conducted to examine peoples’ ratings of another’s attractiveness and whether or not our aversion to those genetically related to us is conscious. The researchers investigated if we have a bias toward those who are similar to us, but reject this inclination once we are made aware of the physical similarity.

In the first of their series of studies, participants were either subliminally presented with a picture of their opposite-sex parent or a stranger. After the presentation of one of the faces, participants were shown another stranger and were told to rate his/her attractiveness. Those subliminally presented with their opposite-sex parent, rated the stranger as more attractive than those subliminally presented with a stranger. Therefore, the participants were primed by a relative, someone who looks similar to themselves, and this made them rate the picture of the new individual as more attractive. In the second experiment, a stranger’s face was either morphed with another stranger or a picture of the subject’s own face. Subjects rated the image morphed with their own face as more sexually attractive, again showing a bias for people like ourselves.

The Show

So how does this relate to my favorite 90s sitcom? In the famous episode where Jerry meets Janeane Garofalo’s character, Jeannie Steinmann, a woman who both looks like and acts like Seinfeld, the two instantly fall in love. He quickly proposes to her making good on the pact he made with George to get engaged. All seems well, until Jerry becomes cognizant that they are just too similar. In a span of one episode he goes from declaring that he wanted someone just like himself to saying that he hates himself and wants someone completely opposite.

Know The Key to Have a Lasting Relationship

Is sex the key to a lasting relationship? It appears to be the case, according to some new research, but the full picture is complicated, and the findings raise an obvious question: What enables and sustains a couple’s long-term romantic and sexual connection to begin with?

Let’s take a look.

This study focused on recently married couples, and found links between frequency of sex and its positive impact on the relationship over time. (Previous research has also found a similar effect among older couples.) Needless to say, if both partners enjoy sex, per se, and presumably with each other, then yes, that’s likely to enhance their relationship satisfaction. But what enables that desire, in itself? We know that long-term relationships often head south over time: Diminished energy and intimacy in your relationship inevitably affects you and your partner’s sexual connection. That is, the state of your relationship will follow you into the bedroom.

So, just having sex, in the absence of a thriving relationship, is unlikely to be very pleasurable, nor will it translate into increased marital satisfaction over time; actually, it could diminish it. Mental health professionals who’ve worked with relationship issues recognize that from our patients’ experiences in therapy. True, some couples try to smooth over a flatlined or troubled relationship by trying to just have sex anyway, or by having “make-up sex” or even “angry sex” after a fight. Other couples look to recharge their sexual relationship by turning to the latest techniques or suggestions from books, workshops, or the media.

These are understandable but misguided efforts, and they reflect a broader problem: We absorb very skewed notions about sexual needs, behavior, and romantic relationships as we grow up. (I described some of the dysfunctions that result in an earlier post about the differences between “hook-up sex,” “marital sex,” and “making love.”)

But in contrast, couples’ actual experiences and some empirical research show what partners do when they are successful at sustaining positive connection, emotionally and sexually. In essence, they build and live an integrated relationship, one that combines transparency in communication, conscious mutuality in decision-making, and a commitment to create conditions for maintaining erotic energy in their physical/sexual life.

The key role these habits play becomes more evident when looking at the actual findings from the study of recently married couples. Conducted by Florida State University and published in Psychological Science, it looked at whether frequent sex might not only sustain partners’ positive connection between periods of sexual activity, but might also strengthen their long-term relationship satisfaction.

The researchers found that a single act of sex produced an “afterglow” for couples that lasted for about two days. More significantly, couples experiencing a stronger afterglow reported greater marital satisfaction four-to-six months later compared with those who reported a weaker afterglow.

According to lead author Andrea Meltzer, “Our research shows that sexual satisfaction remains elevated 48 hours after sex, and people with a stronger sexual afterglow — that is, people who report a higher level of sexual satisfaction 48 hours after sex — report higher levels of relationship satisfaction several months later.” The research was based on data from two independent, longitudinal studies of 214 couples, and is described in detail in the journal’s news release.

But the study also found that some couples didn’t experience much “afterglow” at all after sex. More significantly, all couples’ marital satisfaction declined between the beginning of the study and its follow-up, four-to-six months later — although those who reported higher initial satisfaction experienced less decline.

So decline occurred over time, regardless of the degree of “afterglow.” Actually, that’s pretty consistent with what most long-term couples experience — and lament. When your relationship declines, it affects your sex life. The researchers’ conclusion that “sex functions to keep couples pair-bonded” overlooks this reality: No sexual technique or efforts to re-energize passion will help much when your relationship’s vitality is ebbing away.

Know Your Brain When Falling in Love

What happens when we fall in love? It’s an age-old question for poets and
philosophers, and a newer one for neuroscientists. We have pictures of people’s brains after the fact, when certain areas light up in response to a photograph of a loved one. But researchers at Emory University’s Silvio O. Conte Center for Oxytocin and Social Cognition wanted to know what happens before that, in the “getting to know you” phase.

Now, in a first-of-its-kind study published in Nature this week, they reveal what they found — a connection in which one part of a female’s brain tells another part of her brain that maybe that guy over there is the one. Beyond giving us insight into our romantic responses, the results might eventually be used to help those with impaired social abilities, such as people with autism spectrum disorder.

A caveat: This study was done in prairie voles. But don’t scoff; the rodents are well-known in scientific circles for their long-term, devoted, monogamous relationships, a.k.a. “pair bonds.” They provide a useful — or “beautiful,” in the words of one of the paper’s authors — model for looking at what happens in the brain when two individuals connect. And this kind of study isn’t possible in people. “Technically and logistically, it would be hard to design an experiment in humans to track how somebody falls in love,” says Robert Liu, a computational neuroscientist in Emory’s Biology Department and a senior author of the paper. The study also tells us nothing about the process of choosing one mate over another; these prairie voles had arranged marriages.

What the scientists were able to do was watch what happened inside a female’s brain in real time after they put her in a cage with a male — “cohabitation,” or the rodent version of living together — and they interacted and began to bond. Prairie voles interested in bonding move closer and closer to each other and eventually engage in a behavior called “side by side huddling,” which Liu calls “an expression of the bond that’s being formed … it’s something that emerges over time.”

Liu and his colleagues were watching two brain areas — the medial prefrontal cortex, which is involved in executive function and decision making, and the nucleus accumbens, which is associated with reward and addiction. They took electrophysiological recordings of those two areas as well as video of the voles’ behavior for the six hours of the experiment. They found that the medial prefrontal cortex exerted a certain amount of control over the nucleus accumbens. The connectivity between these areas suggests one is telling the other how to respond to social cues — to find them attractive. “We learn to appreciate the smells, or the voice, or how our partner looks,” Liu says. “Presumably that’s all through some way of making those cues more rewarding to us. Perhaps that’s what we’re getting a glimpse of.” Since humans have a similar circuit, albeit with a lot “more territory,” Liu says the same thing may well be happening in us.

Intriguingly, a baseline conversation between these two brain areas was going on before the females met the males — and there were noticeable differences in how active the circuit was across individuals. “What was really surprising was that the level of activation was predictive of how quickly the animal would become affiliative,” Liu says. This would seem to hint at why some individuals fall in love so easily, and others are more resistant.

What about sex? That was also surprising. In prairie voles, mating does not necessarily lead to a pair bond; it’s the huddling that really matters. But when the animals have their first mating bout, sex can accelerate bonding. Some animals showed more change in the level of functional connectivity between the two brain areas than others did. The degree of change was also predictive. “If you get a bigger boost coming out of that mating bout, you’ll start to huddle more quickly,” says Liu. Enough said.

Finally, the scientists used the innovative technique of optogenetics, in which they stimulate specific brain areas with light to doublecheck their results. They put voles together in a way that would not normally lead to bonding (shorter time, no sex). In animals who’d had this circuit stimulated, even that hint of a possible relationship was enough to trigger bonding behavior. In unstimulated animals, it didn’t.

This last result is what leads to the speculation that someday this circuit could be stimulated in people who have difficulty developing social bonds. Optogenetics is most likely too invasive for humans for the foreseeable future. Liu suggests, however, that some brain stimulation techniques that are already in use in people, like transcranial magnetic stimulation, might work eventually, if they could be refined to target a more specific area of the brain. “That might be one way to enhance social function by making social cues more rewarding,” Liu says.

Meanwhile, perhaps the rest of us should be a little more appreciative of huddling.

Know Some Healthy Reasons to be in a Relationship

Every single person in this world needs someone to share their life with, to love and be loved, to care and get care, to support and have support and to encourage and stay encouraged.

We all do have many Dreams in our life, we set a goal and achieve it and go to accomplish another one. But we can’t ignore the fact what our basic need is? There is no harm to be single.
But marriage seems to make you a better and complete person.

Some people be in a relationship just to make their self-happy, to feel worthy and loved. These are all unhealthy reasons, such relationships may end in the long run.

But we all think of a reason like why to be in a relationship?

Are there any healthy reasons to be in a relationship?

Yes, if you are taking things positively, relationships make your life healthier and inspires you to be a better person, to be you, to believe in yourself and have a happy and successful life.

Look at the following five good reasons to be in a strong relationship :

1. Having someone on your side to understand you, releases stress:

If you are worried about something, you have someone to hear you out. It’s a great feeling to have someone who will share your burden, someone to talk to, someone to understand you, someone to encourage you, someone to care for you, someone to be with you whatever the situation is. It is a natural fact that we humans feel happier having someone on our side and to be no more alone. Of course, it lowers your stress level and makes you live in a better way.

2. Make you to know yourself better and have confidence :

Generally, when we think of a relationship, it seems like you will learn about your better half but at the same time, we learn a lot about our own habits and behaviour with others. We may come to know about our unknown part of nature, good things as well as bad things. We try to avoid the bad things and our partner brings out the best in us. When someone hides your weak points, appreciate and encourage your abilities and skills, it gives you a lot of confidence, it makes you believe in yourself and be satisfied.

3. You can achieve more when you get the motivation :

Often we have the ability to do something but we need motivation, spiritual and emotional support to accomplish the goal, love is powerful, it motivates you. We can do much more things when we have someone to support our dreams and aims.

4. To learn how to compromise :

You learn to compromise a lot of things like how to tolerate some bad things of the next person, you become more patient, it shows your love. The approach towards life would be changed. You have to share living space and spend holidays with families.

5. You can have a happier and healthy life :

It is very clear now when there will be lesser stress, you get love, care, mutual support, motivation and confidence, automatically you become happier and healthy. When you don’t take care of your health, there is someone to remind you, your importance. Research shows that married people are more happy and healthy than the unmarried ones.

Avoid These Annoying Habits of Boyfriend That Girlfriend Hates

The life is all about love and relationship. The life is indeed useless without the affection and the different relation that we come across in our precious life. Every relationship has its own limitless importance and no human being should avoid it. The time you start avoiding or disrespecting them, it results in disappointment and depression.

Amidst the varied relationship the most common is of girlfriend and boyfriend. In the modern days, it has become a trend and the youngsters actually do not value it resulting into breakups and unhappiness. Let us learn about the five irritating habits of most of the boyfriends that girlfriend across the globe actually hates:

1. Putting unwanted restrictions

The boyfriends are observed stopping their loving girlfriends from varied things. They start making unwanted intervention in their personal life. No girlfriend prefers the unacceptable interference in her private life. Being independent is the right of every individual. A relationship is all about understanding each other. All girls hate unwanted restrictions put on them by their beloved.

2. Being friendly with other girls

Every girlfriend is found to be possessive. She wants and tried to ensure that her boyfriend do not involve more with other females in college, office or at other places. It creates the feeling of jealousy and irritates them a lot. Avoid giving more value to other girls in front of your girlfriend.

3. Not answering calls

At many times, males are noticed avoiding their female friend due to one or more reasons. They prefer communicating through text rather speaking over the phone. The females are more used in tele-talks and this forces them to doubt their relationship. A good percentage of boys are observed not answering calls that results into the negative thoughts and unnecessary problems in the relationship. Girls are also found complaining that he never texts first but always replies the messages which is again extremely annoying for her. No girlfriend can entertain or accept her boyfriend if he does not answer her phone calls.

4. Avoiding shopping

Generally, females love shopping. They look for every reason to go for the purchases, especially whenever they get chances to go with their loving boyfriends. The girl hates her boyfriend who tries to stop them for shopping or who denies accompanying them for malls or other buying destinations in and around the city.

5. Regular promise breaking

There is no doubt in the reality that a good and long-term relation depends upon several important factors. It is also obligatory for both the partners to value and give due respect to each other. One of the most common things that girls hates badly is if boyfriend breaks the promises regularly. Every girl wants her male friend to keep up the promises until and unless the circumstances are unavoidable.

If you really want your girlfriend to love you the way you desire, it is strongly advised to avoid these annoying habits. It will certainly keep your beloved happy and make you bond stronger.

Date Via Online Dating Sites

Getting a date becomes easy for some people, whereas no reason is found why it must be tricky for others. This is because, they do not know about how to go through it. Dating is almost considered to be inevitable, which shows that dating will be a part of life as we all get pleasure from spending time with our desired ones. In case we all enjoy spending time with our preferred individuals, it means the significance of spending of time with someone who had understood our love and this is where, the online dating sites are playing an essential role. Most of them won’t consider these online dating sites as they don’t believe the effectiveness of these dating sites. This article will help you find out the reasons why people need to register with Amolatina online dating site to date online.

Wide range of potential partners:

People generally have different tastes. So, there is a wide range of potential partners to select from. Therefore, getting your perfect choice and match for yourself turns out to be much easier. If you sign up into Amoltina online dating site, you are required to provide your profile that seems to be the platform based on which the searches are made. Thus, you are suggested not to provide wrong information regarding yourself in the profile.

As members get hold of competitive profiles, this will give you an excellent opportunity to opt for the best partner. No one is going to impose anyone on you and so, you aren’t in a sort of haste, which can make you select a partner who will be in contrary towards your choice. As online dating sites have different people out of different parts of the world, you can be conveniently successful in your search.

Save time and money:

The time as well as effort, which you will be exhausted in going a definite distance with the intention to look out for a partner, will be saved. Further, the effort which is needed to make her know the reasons why she must accept your date and proposal is also saved when you are using online dating sites. More than that, the money you need to be spent on probably making your partner getting pleasure from the relationship by taking her to cinema, beach, party or even out for dinner or lunch is saved. In addition, you have to spend in buying wines, clothes, snacks and also jewelries in order to make your partner comfortable and happy too. But if you are dating online, then you don’t have the need to perform all these things so as to enjoy your date.

Getting chance to meet like-minded singles:

Needless to say, Amolatina provides you a chance to meet several other like-minded singles. If you tend to meet other singles with the similar interest, then it will become easy to share ideas in addition to getting opportunities to advise one another regarding the related issues. Whatever you experience, any dispute you face and everything you do is always understood clearly by the other singles with same interest.

Deal With a Ransom Kidnapping

Though the odds of it happening are very low, but a kidnapping is terrifying for everybody involved in it. Your child has been kidnapped. You’re scared, depressed, and confused. The kidnapper demands a ransom. What is your first step? Most parents are clueless. This article will tell you everything that you need to know if this atrocity ever happens to you.

The first step in this situation is to remain calm.Your first instinct might be to call the police. This, however, is not the correct move. Your first contact should be a private security agency. From there, they will make the decision on whether you should alert the authorities or not. In a situation like this, it might be easy to make rash decisions, but you can not afford to do this. Everything should be handled as calmly, and by experts.

Ransom kidnappings are almost always about money. However, it is also about control. There is usually a negotiation back and forth until the final deal is made. This is important to keep in mind when dealing with the ransom.

When dealing with a ransom kidnapping, you should not expect it to be over quickly, unfortunately. Keep calm and remember that ransom kidnapping cases can last a long time. Make sure that you get proof of life before any deal is decided or any ransom is paid. Proof of life confirms that the abductor actually has your child and that you aren’t being scammed. You can do this by asking personal questions that only you and your child would know the answer to. For example, you could ask them who their favorite middle school teacher was and why. You could ask them their special nickname for their dog or anything of the like.

One of the most important things that you need to do in this situation is maintain your composure and not freak out. It can be super easy to panic and make bad decisions that you know are not logical. Your consultant should be there to guide you through decision making but it will still be extremely difficult to handle. Taking care of your mental health during this time is extremely important. Being well rested and ready to make decisions is essential when you go into each day. Don’t let exhaustion get the best of you in a situation where critical thinking is so important.

Reinvent Yourself After Heartbreak

Today, are going to take those lessons and learn how to apply that divorcegift so you can continue to move on with your life.

Don’t think of yourself as just a “divorcee.” You are so much more than that.

For years, you probably defined yourself as spouse, partner, and caregiver. Those definitions are all great, but they only make up a part of you. And when we tie ourselves to those definitions, we forget about all the things we once were.

But you are now given the incredible gift of redefining yourself. What do you identify with? Are you are dreamer, thinker, and doer?

It’s time to start embracing all the things you are besides just a person who’s no longer married. Take a moment to write down at least three ways to see yourself beyond your marital status. For example…

I am one hell of a friend and I always have my friends’ back.

I am a traveler who dreams, plans, and is bold enough to travel to those places others merely see in their dreams.

I am a master in the kitchen who knows how to whip up a feast from five ingredients hiding in my pantry.

Now it’s your turn! What are all the awesome things about yourself that you have overlooked during the divorce? Will you start seeing yourself for all these great things you are and all the great things you do?

Remember—being divorced means that now, you call the shots. You get the freedom to do what you want, when you want, and treat yourself like the queen you are. So start thinking of your self-identification beyond your divorce—which is just one small slice of who you actually are and all the amazing things that you are actually doing.

Have a plan for yourself. It’s the chance to chart your own destiny.

Divorce after a years-long marriage can leave us confused with how to plan for ourselves since plans usually involved the spouse. But your life doesn’t stop just because your marriage ended. It just means that you now have the freedom to do things on your own terms.

That sort of freedom can seem overwhelming at first. But having a plan doesn’t have to be! A great way for creating a reinvention plan for yourself is to answer the following questions:

Want do you want for yourself?
What steps will you take to get what you want?
Who can help you along the way?

Sometimes it can be difficult identifying the steps to get what you want as you continue to reinvent yourself after divorce. Living under different circumstances than you did when you were married, or if you are retired, on a fixed income, makes many older women thing that they will not be able to do the things they want, but this is not necessarily the case.

There are many excellent resources and professionals with expertise you not just live within your means, but thrive during the best years of their lives. The key is recognizing that you deserve to be happy and that with some planning, there is no reason you cannot achieve that for yourself.

Don’t view your divorce as a failure. View it as your second chance.

Many of us, even years after a divorce, carry an unfair burden. We wrongly think that the fact that because their marriage ended means they failed at something. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you really want to move the hell on, you need to start thinking of the end of your marriage not as some tragedy, but instead as the gift that it really is. When you view your divorce as the opportunity to now define life on your own terms, the chance to be happy again, and the chance to now write this new chapter in your life as your own vision and not your former partner’s, then you are creating the best possible future for yourself.

Nobody can change the past. However, always remember that divorce does not mean you are not worthy of celebrating these next years of your life. In fact, reinventing yourself beyond the label of “divorcee,” learning to plan for the things you now have the freedom to do, and viewing your divorce as a learning experience that has now let you define life on your own terms means you now have the chance to move forward to an amazing future. And that’s what treating your divorce like a gift is all about.

Information About Different Aggression Types Affect Intimate Relationships

Long-term close relationships require a lot of work to maintain and even the best one may fall short at times from the ideals that we all hold about what constitutes a good one. Arguments are inevitable and try as you might, you’re certain to have at least the occasional disagreement. It could be that you and your partner don’t see eye to eye on how much time to spend with your in-laws or whether you should get that new couch that one of you so desperately wants. Over the course of time, these disagreements come and go, but there’s a hope that they’ll go soon after they come. Much of the research on relationship satisfaction and the quality of a couple’s conflict resolution involves a one-shot examination using a correlational design, which limits the researcher’s ability to draw cause and effect conclusions. Further, many studies fail to study both partners in the relationship, meaning that they only get one person’s perspective.

Brigham Young University’s Sarah Coyne and colleagues (2017) studied relational aggression, which they define as “a behavior intended to damage a relationship or hurt someone through manipulation or social exclusion” (p. 282). This concept is slightly different than conflict resolution, which refers to the strategies that couples use after disputes arise and they then move on to settle them. Relational aggression is just that, the set of behaviors that inflict direct harm and is typically intentional. The Brigham Young University team tested married heterosexual couples, all participating in the “Flourishing Families Project (FFP), an ongoing study of the inner life of parents and their 10- to 14-year-old children. The sample was stratified according to social class and although the initial group consisted of 423 families, by the end of the 5 years that the study lasted, 311 couples remained. Most were White, but 19% were multiethnic, and most were college educated. Male and female relational aggression patterns were studied separately but their responses were tracked simultaneously.

The key measure of interest was a relational aggression and victimization scale designed for couples. The underlying framework of the study contrasted couples who used “lovewithdrawal” as a form of relational aggression with those who use what’s called “social sabotage.” In love withdrawal, you act aggressively against your relationship by what you do not do; i.e., communicate or allow yourself to show feelings toward your partner until your partner complies. Social sabotage is the form of relationship aggression in which you act out against your partner by telling others outside the relationship about what is happening but you don’t tell your partner. As the authors note, “Whereas love withdrawal keeps the tension within the marital relationship, social sabotage invites outsiders into the couple’s problems.” Social sabotage, in other words, has “the potential to inflict lasting damage … as the defamation of the spouse may endure over time” (p. 284). Imagine that one partner constantly lets a siblingor particular in-law know about every argument that the couple has. This makes it hard for that sibling or in-law to look the same way at the partner compared to the way this outsider would otherwise regard the partner. In turn, the partner loses face and may be less able to rely on that third party for support and affection.

Coyne and her colleagues predicted that women would be the more likely perpetrators of social sabotage. Given that teenagers are socialized from a young age to confide their relationship problems to their friends, such patterns may drift into adulthood when women continue to use friends or other family members as sounding boards for their marital problems. The perpetrators of social sabotage may not realize how damaging this type of relational aggression is or, even if they do, find it hard to modify their old patterns of behavior. For men, in contrast, this type of aggression may not be as commonly used, although when it is, the impact is particularly harmful given that men traditionally hold more power already over their partners.

Resolve Disagreements About Sex

It’s normal for long-term romantic couples to disagree from time to time about topics as diverse as child-rearing, household finances, and, of course, sex. But how do intimate partners behave differently when discussing sexual and non-sexual matters?

It’s an important question to answer because research suggests that couples find sexual communication especially difficult. By uncovering the behavioral patterns unique to discussions about sex, a team of psychologists from the University of Waterloo in Ontario and the University of Dayton, Ohio, hoped to identify how relationship counselors might assist couples with problems in the bedroom. They ran a study in which partners identified problems in their relationship and discussed these problems as a couple. The results of the study were recently published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Uzma Rehman, who led the team, invited 115 male/female couples to her laboratory. Upon arrival, the men and women were directed to separate rooms, where they completed a battery of questionnaires about their relationships. One of these questionnaires asked the volunteers about their experiences with 20 sources of non-sexual relationship conflict; another asked about sexual problems.

The partners had to rate the extent to which each topic was a problem in their own relationships. The list of potential relationship problems included “housework,” “how to spend vacation time,” “starting interesting conversations,” and “spending time on outside activities.” The list of sources of sexual conflict included “paying attention to sexual needs,” “amount of foreplay,” “sexual attraction to someone other than the partner,” “premature orgasm,” and “viewing pornography alone,” among others.

A pair of research assistants collected the completed questionnaires and compared each man and woman’s responses. The research assistants selected a topic as the subject for a discussion between the partners if both partners identified that topic as a problem for their relationship, and each desired change in the opposite direction (say, if both partners thought frequency of sex was a problem in their relationship, and one partner wanted more sex while the other wanted less).

The assistants chose one sexual and one non-sexual topic for each couple.

Next, each couple was reunited in a laboratory fitted with video cameras. They were asked to discuss each topic for eight minutes. While the partners discussed the topics, the cameras were rolling, recording their every word and gesture. Sounds relaxing!


Once the discussions were through, and the volunteers thanked and sent on their way, it was the job of the research assistants to view the videos. Rehman was interested in whether the volunteers behaved with warmth or hostility, and with dominance or submission. She wanted to know how the volunteers’ behavior varied on these two dimensions from moment to moment.

The research assistants received eight hours training on how to spot warm, hostile, dominant, and submissive behavior. Then they seated themselves comfortably in front of a monitor, hit play, and grabbed their joysticks.

Yes, that’s right: their joysticks. The assistants’ computers were equipped with arcade-style controllers that the assistants had to pull to the left if the volunteer’s behavior was hostile, and to the right if the volunteer was warm. They pushed forward if the volunteer was dominant, and pulled backward if the volunteer was submissive.