It’s Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air! Whether you are spending the day mooning over your loved one, celebrating your freedom with your friends, or trying to pretend such a total non-event does not even register on your calendar, it’s pretty hard to avoid. Have pity for the giver of the heartlessly abandoned gift balloon (currently to be seen floating around west London – I kid you not).
In celebration of this joyous occasion we decided to take a look to see which research on the tricky topic of love has been receiving attention online. As it turns out, there’s a lot of it. And people seem to like to talk about it. From dating, early stage relationships, happy coupledom and marriage to complex situations of infidelity and office relationships, defining aspects of love is a challenge that many have accepted. So welcome, to the Altmetric Guide to Love, as we offer a step by step walkthrough of the most complicated of human relationships (unmoderated, and most certainly untested).
The First Steps: Finding a Partner
Ask almost anyone what’s important to them in the life, and the majority will include finding a companion to be happy with somewhere in the list. Finding that person, however, can be somewhat difficult. These papers examine the process of choosing a suitable match, and the (often crazy, addictive) early stage dynamics of ‘falling in love’:
- Love: You have 4 minutes to choose your perfect mate
- Reward, Motivation, and Emotion Systems Associated With Early-Stage Intense Romantic Love
- Hormonal changes when falling in love
- ‘Love is in the air’: Effects of songs with romantic lyrics on compliance with a courtship request
- Judging a Man by the Width of His Face: The Role of Facial Ratios and Dominance in Mate Choice at Speed-Dating Events
- Predicting Romantic Interest and Decisions in the Very Early Stages of Mate Selection
- Looking and loving: The effects of mutual gaze on feelings of romantic love
Settling down, or just settling?
So now you’re past the initial giddy stages of a new relationship. It’s about time to find out how you really work as a couple. For some, this will present some scary truths. Others will settle comfortably into the security of a long term relationship in which to build a future together:
- Women and Men in Love: Who Really Feels It and Says It First?
- People Will Know We Are in Love: Evidence of Differences Between Vocal Samples Directed Toward Lovers and Friends
- Through the eyes of love: Reality and illusion in intimate relationships
- Love alters autonomic reactivity to emotions
- Your Love Lifts Me Higher! The Energizing Quality of Secure Relationships
- Is love a flimsy foundation? Soulmate versus institutional models of marriage
- Do Men and Women Show Love Differently in Marriage?
Tough times – the path of true love never runs smooth
We all have our ups and downs in life, and our relationships are no exception to this. These papers address the difficulties involved in emotional attachment:
- The dark side of love: Love styles and the Dark Triad
- Only because I love you: Why people make and why they break promises in romantic relationships
- How to lose the one you love
- Hungry for Love: The Influence of Self-Regulation on Infidelity
- What do love and jealousy taste like?
- Reward, Addiction, and Emotion Regulation Systems Associated With Rejection in Love
Last but not least, love in the office
A large proportion of our waking hours are spent in the workplace each week. And, some would argue, it is the ideal place to find a partner. So how does this come about, and what effects does it have on those around us? These papers investigate:
So wherever you are in your very own romantic odyssey, good luck. And Happy Valentine’s Day! If all else fails, Bridget Jones is probably on TV later.