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CURATOR
A pinboard by
The Sparrho Team

How might scientific research inform our personal decisions?

PINBOARD SUMMARY

Love is a broader concept than many suppose...

How is it that on today's hyper-connected, ultra-social planet, love remains elusive for so many people? This pinboard takes a look at romance and attraction from various scientific standpoints, considering the history of relationships in different cultural contexts alongside present-day studies into love at first sight, adolescent concepts of love, and motivations for infidelity.

The conventional view in biology is that there are three major drives in love – sex drive, attachment, and partner preference. Central dopamine pathways mediate partner preference behavior, while vasopressin in the ventral pallidum and oxytocin in the nucleus accumbens and paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus mediate partner preference and attachment behaviors. Sex drive is modulated primarily by activity in the mesolimbic dopamine pathway (comprising the ventral tegmental area and nucleus accumbens). Testosterone and estrogen contribute to these drives by modulating activity within dopamine pathways.

From the perspective of evolutionary psychology, the experiences and behaviors associated with love can be investigated in terms of how they have been shaped by human evolution. For example, it has been suggested that human language has been selected during evolution as a type of "mating signal" that allows potential mates to judge reproductive fitness. Since Darwin's time, there have been speculations about the evolution of human interest in music as a signalling system for attracting and judging the fitness of potential mates. It has been suggested that the human capacity to experience love has been evolved as a signal to potential mates that the partner will be a good parent and be likely to help pass genes to future generations. Biologist Jeremy Griffith defines love as 'unconditional selflessness', suggesting utterly cooperative instincts developed in modern humans' ancestor, Australopithecus.

183 ITEMS PINNED

Factors Associated with Romantic Relationship Self-Efficacy Following Youth-Focused Relationship Education

Abstract: To explore how youths' perceived relationship self-efficacy following relationship education may vary on the basis of program and youth characteristics.Youth-focused relationship education has been shown to promote attitudes and behaviors that foster healthy romantic relationships. Yet little is known about the factors associated with variations in these program outcomes.Using data collected from a convenience sample of 1,076 youth who participated in the Love U2: Relationship Smarts Plus program, structural equation models and multiple group analysis using chi-square difference tests were examined to assess whether and how various program and youth characteristics are associated with relationship self-efficacy.Youths' romantic relationship self-efficacy was greater when programming was offered within a week or weekly versus monthly, after school rather than in-school, and whether participants were female and had previous dating experiences. Several demographic factors (e.g., race, sex) moderated the influence of programmatic and individual characteristics on self-efficacy.Variability exists in how relationship and marriage education programs are implemented in uncontrolled real-world settings. Our findings suggest that program outcomes may also vary on the basis of certain youth and program characteristics.Practitioners should carefully consider how the tailoring of program content and delivery to meet the needs of diverse audiences maintains program fidelity and can potentially influence program outcomes.

Pub.: 15 Dec '17, Pinned: 03 Jan '18

Motivations for Extradyadic Infidelity Revisited.

Abstract: Relationship infidelities are motivated by many distinct factors, with previous research indicating motivations of dissatisfaction, neglect, anger, and sexual desire (Barta & Kiene, 2005). We expand on this by demonstrating additional, empirically distinct motivations for infidelity. Using an Internet-based questionnaire, participants (N = 495), most of whom were young adults, self-reported their infidelities. In addition to evidence for previously studied motivations, our data demonstrate additional factors, including lack of love ("I had 'fallen out of love with' my primary partner"), low commitment ("I was not very committed to my primary partner"), esteem ("I wanted to enhance my popularity"), gaining sexual variety ("I wanted a greater variety of sexual partners"), and situational factors ("I was drunk and not thinking clearly"). Our results also show personality correlates with infidelity motivations. Consistent with predictions, attachment insecurity was associated with motivations of anger, lack of love, neglect, low commitment, and esteem, while unrestricted sociosexual orientation was associated with sexual variety. Implicit beliefs (e.g., growth, destiny, romanticism) were differentially associated with sexual desire, low commitment, lack of love, and neglect. These findings highlight multifaceted motivations underlying infidelity, moving beyond relationship deficit models of infidelity, with implications for research and psychotherapy involving people's romantic and sexual relationships.

Pub.: 16 Dec '17, Pinned: 03 Jan '18

From “I Want To Hold Your Hand” to “Promiscuous”: Sexual Stereotypes in Popular Music Lyrics, 1960–2008

Abstract: Media content analyses indicate that gender-based differences in sexuality are common and consistent with gender stereotypes. Specifically, women are expected to focus on love and romantic relationships and have sexually objectified bodies, while men are expected to focus on sexual behavior. Although decades of research have documented the presence of these stereotypes in a broad variety of visual media, much less is known about the content of popular music lyrics. Relying on a database of 1250 songs across five decades (the top 50 songs from even-numbered years from 1960 through 2008), we documented the presence or absence of a dating relationship, the word “love” (and its uses), sexual activity, and sexual objectification of females and males (separately). Analyses revealed that the vast majority of songs addressed at least one of these themes, primarily dating relationships. Although female performers were proportionally more likely to address romantic relationships than male performers, raw counts reversed this pattern because male performers substantially outnumbered female performers. Males were proportionally more likely to sing about sexual behavior and to objectify both females and males. References to romantic relationships became less common over time, while references to sexual behavior and objectified bodies became more common. Content varied across genres, with rap being the least likely to reference dating and most likely to reference sexual behavior. Implications for sexual development are discussed.

Pub.: 18 May '17, Pinned: 03 Jan '18

Life Themes and Interpersonal Motivational Systems in the Narrative Self-construction.

Abstract: What makes unique and unrepeatable individuals is their ability to write their own story attributing meaning, sharing it through narration, giving coherence to the information related to the interpersonal motivational systems, and creating alternative hierarchies to those biologically provided by the genetic code. Through clinical narratives and narrative literature, we can observe the recurrence of specific topics, across time and different cultures. Hence, we wondered whether there are some evolutionary suggestions that guide us in the construction of the narrative-autobiographical contents. In this article we proposed a theoretical-clinical hypothesis about the existence of a biological disposition to identify as fundamental six Life Themes (LTs) that contribute to defining the image of the self and the world: Love, Personal Value, Power, Justice, Truth, and Freedom. Besides the innumerable narratives dependent upon context, there may be many ways of telling stories that, instead, would be reported to these few essential themes. A narrative review of the literature about these concepts follows the systematic explanation of the perspective about the LTs as attractors of meaning. The manuscript considers also the process of co-construction of meanings within the interpersonal relationships and the influences of these on the narratives. In particular, we focused on the importance of episodic and autobiographical memory related to the attachment and significant figures, in the construction of the personal story and the LTs. We also explained the possible clinical implications of the theoretical hypothesis of LTs. Within clinical conversations, the LTs could be expressed rigidly or, otherwise, in a confused way. The lack of narrative integration may lead to the dominance of chaos or rigidity that generates suffering. A better comprehension of the LTs in patients' narrations could be useful to identify a narrative profile about the areas of greatest suffering related to the idea of self and the world, as well as to construct an adequate care plan.

Pub.: 23 Nov '17, Pinned: 03 Jan '18

"Boys Should Have the Courage to Ask a Girl Out": Gender Norms in Early Adolescent Romantic Relationships.

Abstract: The purpose of the study is to explore how gender norms emerge in romantic relationships among early adolescents (EAs) living in five poor urban areas.Data were collected as part of the Global Early Adolescent Study. The current research analyzed data from interviews with 30 EAs (aged 11-13 years) living in five poor urban sites: Baltimore, Cuenca, Edinburgh, Ghent, and Nairobi. All interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed in English using Atlas.ti, focusing on how EAs experience and perceive gender norms in romantic relationships.Across the five sites, only a few respondents described having been in love, the majority of whom were boys. Findings indicate that stereotypical gender norms about romantic relationships prevail across these cultural settings, depicting boys as romantically/sexually active and dominant, and girls as innocent with less (romantic) agency. In spite of the similarities, Nairobi was unique in that respondents referred to how sexual behavior and violence can occur within EA relationships. In all countries, heterosexuality was perceived to be the norm. Nevertheless, there were examples of EAs accepting homosexuality and expressing supportive attitudes toward equality between the sexes.While EAs across five different cultural settings seem to endorse stereotypical gender norms in romantic relationships, a few stories also illustrate more gender-equal attitudes. As stereotypical gender norms have a demonstrated negative effect on adolescent sexual and reproductive health and well-being, additional research is needed to understand which factors-at the interpersonal and structural level-contribute to the construction of these norms among EAs.

Pub.: 17 Sep '17, Pinned: 03 Jan '18

Recoupling in Mid-Life and Beyond: From Love at Last to Not So Fast.

Abstract: Divorce rates have dropped in the United States, except for couples over 50 where they are rising steeply, along with rates of late-life recoupling. Both stepcouples and their young adult and adult children in new older stepfamilies are often surprised to find themselves facing many of the same challenges that younger stepfamilies do. Some challenges are even intensified by the decades-long relationships and additional layers of extended family that come with recoupling after mid-life. Stepfamilies formed in later life must also negotiate decisions about estate planning and elder care among stakeholders who often have sharply divergent agendas before there is time to establish trusting relationships. This article describes the "normal" challenges facing stepcouples who come together over age 50. It provides evidence-informed guidance for therapists in meeting these challenges on three levels of clinical work: Psychoeducational, Interpersonal, and Intrapsychic/Intergenerational. As in younger stepfamilies, "family therapy" must usually begin in subsystems-often the adult stepcouple and parent-adult child. The article then describes a particularly fraught subgroup of recouplers: over-50 fathers and their new partners, where the dad's young adult or adult daughter is very unhappy with his new relationship. In these latter stepfamilies, father-daughter repair must precede stepfamily bonding. Stepfamilies that are preceded by a partner's death and those that begin with affairs are also discussed. Finally, some "easy wrong turns" for therapists are described.

Pub.: 10 Sep '17, Pinned: 03 Jan '18

Intention to have a second child among Chinese women one year after the implementation of selective two-child policy: a cross-sectional survey.

Abstract: The so-called selective two-child policy was introduced on December, 27, 2015 in China to allow Chinese couples nationwide to have up to two children if either parent is an only child. This study aims to explore Chinese women's intention to have a second child.We surveyed women from 16 hospitals in five Chinese provinces from June 1 to August 31, 2015. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate the sociodemographic factors related to seven key reasons for entering second pregnancy. All data analyses were performed using SAS (version 9.1). This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Chongqing Medical University. All participants submitted written informed consent.2345 women were surveyed; we recruited 590 of these women who were pregnant with their second child for this study. The key reasons for entering second pregnancy among the studied women included: benefits for the first child 153/590 (26·1%), love of children 152 (25·8%), adoption of the two-child policy 68 (11·5%), concerns of losing the first child 44 (7·5%), suggestions from grandparents 44 (7·5%), sex of first child 15 (2·5%), and disability of the first child 8 (1·4%). Multivariable logistic regression showed that pregnant women whose current partner was not the father of their first child had less intention for a second child for the benefits of the older child than did mothers whose partner was the father of the older child (OR 0·33 [95% CI 0·13-0·84]). Parents without siblings were less likely to report having a second child because of love of children than parents who have siblings (women, 0·54 [0·36-0·81]; men, 0·56 [0·38-0·83]). Compared with Han Chinese women, women from minority backgrounds were 2·67 times more likely to have a second child because of the love of children (OR 2·67 [95% CI 1·18-6·04]). Women with higher education level were less likely to be influenced by their parents (0·13 [0·05-0·32]). Women with higher education level were more likely to be influenced by the selective two-child policy (3·185 [1·506-6·735]). Women without siblings and those living in urban areas were less likely to have a second child due to the concerns of losing the first child than those who had siblings (0·37 [0·17-0·81]) or lived in rural areas 0·518 [0·27-0·99]).Women who are better educated are more likely to have a second child to meet personal needs and the two-child policy seems to have less of a determining role. Having siblings, marital and paternity factors, and residency status also influence the decision to have a second child.Medjaden Academy & Research Foundation for Young Scientists (Grant No. MJR20150047) and Summer Social Practice Project of School of Public Health and Management, Chongqing Medical University.

Pub.: 15 Dec '16, Pinned: 19 Dec '16

Eco-Geologies of Queer Desire: Elizabeth Bishops Love Poetry and Charles Darwins Beagle Geology Travel Narratives

Abstract: This essay explores the impact of Charles Darwin’s often poetic, largely geological travel narratives – the Diary and Voyage of the Beagle – on Elizabeth Bishop’s queered travel poems "Crusoe in England"(1976) and "Vague Poem"(circa 1973), in the context of recent feminist theory’s materialist ecological "turn." I survey Bishop’s shift from her early Freudian, "primordial" rocky landscapes, projecting submerged desires for a seductive mother figure, to her later deliberate materializations of these psychosexual realms in "the real" of geology’s unfolding forces and flows. Adapting Darwin’s similarly haunted, dark, Romantic accounts of his voyaging into crustal earth, Bishop’s "Crusoe" and "Vague Poem" variously enact an immersion in earth’s unfolding volcanic or crystalline ancestral past, which successively opens out "eco-geologically" to enmesh queer human intimacy/the body. Theoretically, Bishop’s Darwinian love poems richly materialize the queer body while redefining our enmeshment in nature as the wellspring of achieved being, intimacy, and desire. Further, Bishop’s poems offer a newly relevant feminist ecology within our so-called Anthropocene era of humanly caused, unnaturally accelerated geology. Bishop effectively inserts a "differently" sexed/gendered relation to geologic forces and materialities, thereby countering the neglectful patriarchal anthropos currently scarring our planet.

Pub.: 03 Dec '16, Pinned: 19 Dec '16

Abandoning happiness for life: Mourning and futurity in Maja Borgs Future My Love (2012)

Abstract: Why do we labour so hard to sustain relationships that are fundamentally harmful to our wellbeing? That is the question which lies at the heart of Maja Borg’s poetic and alternatively distributed documentary film, Future My Love (2012). The detrimental bonds on which the film focuses are those that maintain our connection to an economic system that has thrown us into an acute state of crisis and the stillborn emotions that keep us hopefully attached to a romantic partnership that we have already outgrown; this elision imbricates and implicates the personal in the political. Through a prism of painful and, at times, unbearable emotion, and by blurring the boundaries between the public and the private, the real and the fictional, this film urges us to imagine ourselves into a future in which it might be possible to live otherwise; but this requires us to abandon the future we have already imagined and, as the film evinces through archival imagery from the 1950s or golden age of capitalism, imaged ourselves into. By drawing on the work of Lauren Berlant and Sara Ahmed on the cultural politics of emotion, Judith Butler’s work on the act of mourning, and the writing of Eva Illouz, Luce Irigaray and Alain Badiou on love in the age of late capitalism, this article contends that Future My Love pleads with us to abandon, in Ahmed’s words, ‘happiness for life’, to forsake an ideology that is invested in a highly specific notion of what it means to flourish and to thrive, to mourn and name our losses, and to think about the future creatively and without cynicism.

Pub.: 21 Nov '16, Pinned: 12 Dec '16

Drug Addiction is a Scourge on the Earth and my Grandchildren are its Victims: the Tough Love and Resilient Growth Exhibited by Grandparents Raising the Children of Drug-Dependent Mothers

Abstract: Abstract Parental drug-usage is a risk factor for child neglect. Maternal drug-dependency, in particular, has far reaching implications for the mother, her children, and the grandparents who are left to rear the children when the mother’s drug-dependency prohibits her from doing so. Thus, drug-related maternal incapacity to adequately parent her child/ren places a tri-generational burden on society. This study aimed to broaden understanding of this burden. In this regard, forty-nine custodial grandparent interviews were subjected to thematic analysis. Grandparents typically revealed their daughter’s marijuana usage began in early-mid adolescence, progressed to heavy drugs, and led to an early exit from the family home. A teen-aged pregnancy commonly followed. Grandparents when becoming aware of their grandchild/ren’s mother’s continued drug use and repeated instances of child neglect issued the the children’s mother with a ‘go-into-rehab-or-lose-your-custodial-care-of-your-child/ren’ ultimatum. Drug-dependent mothers were often unable to meet this ultimatum and grandparents then transferred their energies into caring for their grandchild/ren. The implications of this grandparent investiture shift are discussed, and future policy considerations are tabled.AbstractParental drug-usage is a risk factor for child neglect. Maternal drug-dependency, in particular, has far reaching implications for the mother, her children, and the grandparents who are left to rear the children when the mother’s drug-dependency prohibits her from doing so. Thus, drug-related maternal incapacity to adequately parent her child/ren places a tri-generational burden on society. This study aimed to broaden understanding of this burden. In this regard, forty-nine custodial grandparent interviews were subjected to thematic analysis. Grandparents typically revealed their daughter’s marijuana usage began in early-mid adolescence, progressed to heavy drugs, and led to an early exit from the family home. A teen-aged pregnancy commonly followed. Grandparents when becoming aware of their grandchild/ren’s mother’s continued drug use and repeated instances of child neglect issued the the children’s mother with a ‘go-into-rehab-or-lose-your-custodial-care-of-your-child/ren’ ultimatum. Drug-dependent mothers were often unable to meet this ultimatum and grandparents then transferred their energies into caring for their grandchild/ren. The implications of this grandparent investiture shift are discussed, and future policy considerations are tabled.

Pub.: 01 Dec '16, Pinned: 12 Dec '16