Yours or Mine? How We Handle Objects Depends on Who Owns Them

Handing over wrenchFrom scissors and staplers to car keys and cell phones, we pass objects to other people every day. We often try to pass the objects so that the handle or other useful feature is facing the appropriate direction for the person receiving the item, but new research shows that we’re less accommodating when it comes to handing over our own belongings.

The findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

“The associations or attachments that we have with an object leak into our movements in unintended ways when we interact with them,” says psychology researcher and study author Merryn Constable of the University of Toronto. “The act of facilitating another person’s action is somewhat inhibited when the object that we’re passing is something that we own, but the effects are so subtle that they are likely to go unnoticed.”

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Selfless People Have More Sex, Study Finds

Holding HandsIf you want to get a little, you should try giving a little. New research from the University of Guelph and Nipissing University shows that people who help others are more desirable to the opposite sex, and have more sexual partners and more frequent sex.

The study was published recently in the British Journal of Psychology.

“This study is the first to show that altruism may translate into real mating success in Western populations, that altruists have more mates than non-altruists,” said Pat Barclay, a U of G psychology professor who worked on the study with lead author Prof. Steven Arnocky from Nipissing.

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Maintaining healthy relationships: here’s a promising way

CoupleThinking about the future helps overcome relationship conflicts, according to a University of Waterloo study just published online in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

“When romantic partners argue over things like finances, jealousy, or other interpersonal issues, they tend to employ their current feelings as fuel for a heated argument. By envisioning their relationship in the future, people can shift the focus away from their current feelings and mitigate conflicts,” said Alex Huynh, a doctoral candidate in psychology and lead author of the study, which he published with Igor Grossmann from the University of Waterloo, and Daniel Yang from Yale University.

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Single people – richer social lives, more psychological growth than marrieds

Single womanDating shows, dating apps — they all strive to make sure none of us end up uncoupled forever. But it turns out many single people embrace their single lives, and are likely to experience more psychological growth and development than married people, according to a psychologist who presented at the American Psychological Association’s 124th Annual Convention.
“The preoccupation with the perils of loneliness can obscure the profound benefits of solitude,” said Bella DePaulo, PhD, a scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “It is time for a more accurate portrayal of single people and single life — one that recognizes the real strengths and resilience of people who are single, and what makes their lives so meaningful.”
DePaulo cited longitudinal research that shows single people value meaningful work more than married people, and another study that shows single people are also more connected to parents, siblings, friends, neighbors and coworkers. “When people marry, they become more insular,” she said.
However, research on single people is lacking, DePaulo claimed. She searched for studies of participants who had never married and, of the 814 studies she found, most did not actually examine single people but used them as a comparison group to learn about married people and marriage in general.
The studies that did focus on single people revealed some telling findings, she said. For example, research comparing people who stayed single with those who stayed married showed that single people have a heightened sense of self-determination and they are more likely to experience “a sense of continued growth and development as a person,” DePaulo said.
Another study of lifelong single people showed that self-sufficiency serves them well: The more self-sufficient they were, the less likely they were to experience negative emotions. For married people, the opposite was true, according to DePaulo.
There are more unmarried people than ever before in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In 2014, there were 124.6 million unmarried Americans over age 16, meaning 50.2 percent of the nation’s adult population identified as single, according to BLS. In contrast, only 37.4 percent of the population was unmarried in 1976.
Married people should be doing a lot better than single people in view of the number of laws that benefit them, DePaulo said, but in many ways, they aren’t. “People who marry get access to more than 1,000 federal benefits and protections, many of them financial,” she said. “Considering all of the financial and cultural advantages people get just because they are married, it becomes even more striking that single people are doing as well as they are.”
Despite the advantages of staying single, DePaulo doesn’t claim one status is better than the other. “More than ever before, Americans can pursue the ways of living that work best for them. There is no one blueprint for the good life,” she said. “What matters is not what everyone else is doing or what other people think we should be doing, but whether we can find the places, the spaces and the people that fit who we really are and allow us to live our best lives.”

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Come on baby, (re)light my fire

CoupleMany couples find that their sexual desire has dwindled over time. It’s not unusual for partners who could not keep their hands off each to gradually lose interest. But new research indicates that there are ways that couples can sustain–or relight–their passion.

“Our research shows that partners who are responsive to each other outside the bedroom are able to maintain their sexual desire,” says Gurit Birnbaum, psychology professor at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel. Birnbaum and her coauthors also found that women’s desire is more strongly affected by their partner’s responsiveness than men’s desire–although men report a boost, as well.

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Laughter is an effective catalyst for new relationships

photodune-14541271-people-laughing-together-at-a-business-meeting-xsIf you want someone to open up to you, just make them laugh. Sharing a few good giggles and chuckles makes people more willing to tell others something personal about themselves, without even necessarily being aware that they are doing so. These are among the findings of a study led by Alan Gray of University College London in the UK, published in Springer’s journal Human Nature.

The act of verbally opening up to someone is a crucial building block that helps to form new relationships and intensify social bonds. Such self-disclosure can be of a highly sensitive nature – like sharing one’s religious convictions or personal fears – or a superficial tidbit such as one’s favorite type of food.

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Online braggers don’t get dates

Online DatingAs online dating has become a widely accepted way to attract possible romantic partners, scholars have been taking a closer look at the practice. What makes an online dater successful? Do the same factors that make face-to-face relationships successful also apply in the online dating world?

A new study recently published in the National Communication Association’s journal Communication Monographs asks how specific types of content in online dating profiles affect viewers’ impressions of the profile owner and their intentions to act on what they’ve seen by contacting the profile owner for a date.

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Opposites attract — unless you’re in a relationship

CoupleIf we are in a relationship we are more likely to be attracted to faces resembling our own, but for single people, opposites attract.

Relationship status affects who and what we find attractive, found a study published inFrontiers in Psychology.

Dr Jitka Lindová of Charles University in the Czech Republic and her team showed a series of photographs of faces to university students and asked them to rate their attractiveness. The photographs were digitally manipulated so that the resemblance to the student was modified.

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Chapman University examines what keeps passion alive in long-term relationships

Loving coupleA Chapman University psychologist and his interdisciplinary research team have just published a study examining the sexual satisfaction — or dissatisfaction — of heterosexual couples in long-term relationships, and what contributes to keeping sexual passion alive. In one of the largest studies to date that scientifically examines what contributes to a satisfying long-term sex life, the findings indicate foreplay, setting the mood, mixing it up, and expressing love are all factors that satisfied couples said they do regularly.

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Teenage boys who show empathy attract 1.8 more girlfriends than boys who don’t

Indian Teen BoyBoys high in cognitive empathy attracted an average of 1.8 more girl friendships than low empathy counterparts, as revealed by a landmark study – When Empathy Matters: The Role of Sex and Empathy in Close Friendships.

The Australian Research Council-funded research, led by Professor Joseph Ciarrochi at the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education at Australian Catholic University, has been published in the Journal of Personality.

It is the first study to examine the extent that adolescent males and females select empathic classmates as friends. And the conclusion based on a study of 1,970 Year 10 students in Queensland and New South Wales (average age of 15.7 years) is that girls are more likely to nominate empathic boys as friends.

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