Couples study ties anger to heart problems, stonewalling to back pain

photodune-12526040-couple-arguing-xsIf you rage with frustration during a marital spat, watch your blood pressure. If you keep a stiff upper lip, watch your back.

New research from the University of California, Berkeley, and Northwestern University, based on how couples behave during conflicts, suggests outbursts of anger predict cardiovascular problem.

Conversely, shutting down emotionally or “stonewalling” during conflict raises the risk of musculoskeletal ailments such as a bad back or stiff muscles.

“Our findings reveal a new level of precision in how emotions are linked to health, and how our behaviors over time can predict the development of negative health outcomes,” said UC Berkeley psychologist Robert Levenson, senior author of the study.

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Men who can tell a good story are seen as more attractive and higher status

Man whispering to wifeStories can change how we think about the world, about the people they describe, and even ourselves. According to new research, they also influence our attitude to the storyteller, writes Alex Fradera (@alexfradera) for the BPS Research Digest.

An article published in the journal Personal Relationships suggests that people portrayed as stronger storytellers are considered as higher status than those that aren’t – and this status can make them more romantically attractive, at least in the eyes of women. Cue editing of Tinder bios across the globe.

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Relationship satisfaction depends on the mating pool, study finds

loversRelationship satisfaction and the energy devoted to keeping a partner are dependent on how the partner compares with other potential mates, a finding that relates to evolution’s stronghold on modern relationship psychology, according to a study at The University of Texas at Austin.

When it comes to mating, people choose partners whose collective qualities most closely reflect what they would prefer in an ideal mate. They prioritize from an array of traits such as intelligence, health, kindness, attractiveness, dependability and financial prospects.

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Does Frequent Sex Lead to Better Relationships? Depends on How You Ask

Young married couple kissNewlywed couples who have a lot of sex don’t report being any more satisfied with their relationships than those who have sex less often, but their automatic behavioral responses tell a different story, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

“We found that the frequency with which couples have sex has no influence on whether or not they report being happy with their relationship, but their sexual frequency does influence their more spontaneous, automatic, gut-level feelings about their partners,” says psychological scientist Lindsey L. Hicks of Florida State University, lead author on the research.

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Vocal signals reveal intent to dominate or submit, study finds

photodune-5545922-beautiful-voice-xs (1)You may not win friends, but a new study finds that you can influence people simply by lowering the pitch of your voice in the first moments of a conversation.

The study, reported in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, found that people whose voices went down in pitch early on in an interaction were more likely to be seen as dominant and influential than those whose vocal pitch went up early in conversation. Those viewed as dominant also were more likely to convince others to go along with their ideas than those seen as less dominant.

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UBC study finds psychedelic drugs may reduce domestic violence

This is UBC Assoc. Prof. Zach Walsh. CREDIT UBC

This is UBC Assoc. Prof. Zach Walsh.
CREDIT: UBC

Psychedelic drugs may help curb domestic violence committed by men with substance abuse problems, according to a new UBC study.

The UBC Okanagan study found that 42 per cent of U.S. adult male inmates who did not take psychedelic drugs were arrested within six years for domestic battery after their release, compared to a rate of 27 per cent for those who had taken drugs such as LSD, psilocybin (commonly known as magic mushrooms) and MDMA (ecstasy).

The observational study followed 302 inmates for an average of six years after they were released. All those observed had histories of substance use disorders.

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Women who are cheated on ‘win’ in the long run; new women ‘lose’

Is your man unfaithful?Women who lose their unfaithful mate to another woman actually win in the long run, according to new research.

“Our thesis is that the woman who ‘loses’ her mate to another woman will go through a period of post-relationship grief and betrayal, but come out of the experience with higher mating intelligence that allows her to better detect cues in future mates that may indicate low mate value. Hence, in the long-term, she ‘wins,'” said Craig Morris, research associate at Binghamton University and lead author on the study. “The ‘other woman,’ conversely, is now in a relationship with a partner who has a demonstrated history of deception and, likely, infidelity. Thus, in the long-term, she ‘loses.'”

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Fewer Romantic Prospects May Lead to Riskier Investments

RiskEncountering information suggesting that it may be tough to find a romantic partner shifts people’s decision making toward riskier options, according to new findings from a series of studies published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

“Environmental cues indicating that one will have a relatively difficult time finding a mate can drive people to concentrate their investment choices into a few high-risk, high-return options,” says psychological scientist Joshua Ackerman of the University of Michigan, lead author on the research. “This is true even when the decisions people are making are not explicitly relevant to romantic outcomes.”

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Being married may help prolong survival in cancer patients

Two linked padlocksNew research has uncovered a link between being married and living longer among cancer patients, with the beneficial effect of marriage differing by race/ethnicity and place of birth. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings have important public health implications, given the rising numbers of unmarried individuals in the United States in addition to the growing aging population.

For the analysis, a team led by Scarlett Lin Gomez, PhD, of the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, and María Elena Martínez, PhD, of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, assessed information on nearly 800,000 adults in California who were diagnosed in 2000 to 2009 with invasive cancer and were followed through 2012.

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Why people oppose same-sex marriage

UCLA's Martie Haselton and David Pinsof. CREDIT: Reed Hutchinson/UCLA

UCLA’s Martie Haselton and David Pinsof.
CREDIT: Reed Hutchinson/UCLA

UCLA psychology study points to self-interest as a leading cause.

“Many people who oppose same-sex marriage are uncomfortable with casual sex and feel threatened by sexual promiscuity,” said David Pinsof, a UCLA graduate student of psychology and lead author of the study.

Such people often marry at a younger age, have more children and believe in traditional gender roles in which men are the breadwinners and women are housewives.

“Sexual promiscuity may be threatening to these people because it provides more temptations for spouses to cheat on one another,” Pinsof said. “On the other hand, for people who are comfortable with women being more economically independent, marrying at a later age and having more sexual partners, sexual promiscuity is not as much of a threat because women do not depend on men for financial support.” The researchers measured people’s attitudes, regardless of their accuracy.

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