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August 2010



Recent Posts


Research Shows Women Attracted To Men In Red

What could be as alluring as a lady in red? A gentleman in red, according to a multicultural study published Aug. 2 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Simply wearing the color red or being bordered by the rosy hue makes a man more attractive and sexually desirable to women, according to a series of studies by researchers at the University of Rochester and other institutions. And women are unaware of this arousing effect.

The cherry color’s charm ultimately lies in its ability to make men appear more powerful, says lead author Andrew Elliot, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. “We found that women view men in red as higher in status, more likely to make money and more likely to climb the social ladder. And it’s this high-status judgment that leads to the attraction,” Elliot says.

Why does red signal rank? The authors see both culture and biology at work. In human societies across the globe, red traditionally has been part of the regalia of the rich and powerful. Ancient China, Japan and sub-Saharan Africa all used the vibrant tint to convey prosperity and elevated status, and Ancient Rome’s most powerful citizens were literally called “the ones who wear red.” Even today, the authors note, businessmen wear a red tie to indicate confidence, and celebrities and dignitaries are feted by “rolling out the red carpet.”

Along with this learned association between red and status, the authors point to the biological roots of human behavior. In non-human primates, like mandrills and gelada baboons, red is an indicator of male dominance and is expressed most intensely in alpha males. Females of these species mate more often with alpha males, who in turn provide protection and resources.

“When women see red it triggers something deep and probably biologically engrained,” explains Elliot. “We say in our culture that men act like animals in the sexual realm. It looks like women may be acting like animals as well in the same sort of way.”

To quantify the red effect, the paper analyzed responses from 288 female and 25 male undergraduates to photographs of men in seven different experiments. Participants were all self-identified as heterosexual or bisexual. In one color presentation, participants looked at a man’s photo framed by a border of either red or white and answered a series of questions, such as: “How attractive do you think this person is?”

Other experiments contrasted red with gray, green, or blue. Colors were precisely equated in lightness and intensity so that test results could not be attributed to differences other than hue.

In several experiments, the shirt of the man in the photographs was digitally colored either red or another color. Participants rated the pictured man’s status and attractiveness, and reported on their willingness to date, kiss, and engage in other sexual activity with the person. They also rated the man’s general likability, kindess, and extraversion.

The researchers found that the red effect was limited to status and romance: red made the man seem more powerful, attractive, and sexually desirable, but did not make the man seem more likable, kind, or sociable. The effect was consistent across cultures: undergraduates in the United States, England, Germany, and China all found men more attractive when wearing or bordered by red.

And the effect was limited to women. When males were asked to rate the attractiveness of a pictured male, color made no difference in their responses.

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/196642.php

Conniving or Conflicted?

I want you…go away!

Published on April 8, 2010

by Linda Young, Ph.D.

Have you ever dated someone who kept you guessing – hot one day and cold the next, telling you they just want to be friends while treating you like they’re in love with you, or telling you they’re in love with you but keeping you at a distance? Have you ever been the waffling one? Are people who give mixed messages about their level of interest or commitment manipulative game players? Undoubtedly some are.

Sometimes mixed signals are selfish attempts to have one’s cake and eat it too and other times they are painful (and sometimes unconscious) efforts to avoid perceived vulnerabilities associated with love and commitment – and without it. To the observer it can be hard to tell the difference between the conniving and the conflicted – and it usually ends badly either way if you’re the partner.

The clients I work with often give mixed signals to dating partners because they have contradictory (and distorted) beliefs and values about love and commitment that pull them in opposite directions rather than becoming integrated and balanced. Some common values polarities they struggle with are:
• Connection——Independence
• Control——-Spontaneity
• Other-Approval——Self-Approval
• Novelty——Stability
• Excitement——Peace
• Freedom——Responsibility
• Immediate Gratification——Long-term Satisfaction

Read in Full: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/love-in-limbo/201004/conniving-or-conflicted

Unequal Love Across The Color Line

When looking for love, black women and Asian men have something big in common.

Published on August 13, 2010

by Linda Young, Ph.D.

Stories about black women, marriage and interracial relationships have always generated controversy, strong opinions and stereotyped assumptions. Just this week Dr Laura took a call from a black female caller married to a white man who wanted to know how to handle ignorant and racist remarks from his family and neighbors. Schlessinger said “If you’re that hypersensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor don’t marry out of your race”.  

The other day I got a comment from “Brenda” about my High-Achieving Black Women and Marriage: Not Choosing Or Not Chosen? piece in which I supported openness to interracial partners.  She said: “was this whole article to help you rationalize why some young stud couldnt be bothered with you?” Wow, not only is she waaaaaaay off, but her comment reminded me of the darts that are also aimed at Asian men when they wonder if they’re being sidelined in love.  Black women and Asian men have some things in common in this arena so today I want to dig deeper into interracial relationships and the interesting ground that black women and Asian men share.

Interracial Marriage

The Pew Research organization recently published a report on interracial marriages (Marrying Out) using data from the 2008 U.S. Census Current Population Survey and one striking statistic jumped out at me. Interracial marriages in general have been rising exponentially since state bans on them were lifted in 1967 – but they haven’t been rising at all evenly. A breakdown by race (self-identified) and gender turns up one glaring difference. Black women and Asian men are far less likely to marry interracially or inter-ethnically than Black men or Asian women.

Read in Full:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/love-in-limbo/201008/unequal-love-across-the-color-line

Why Your Wife Hates Sex and What You Can Do About It

Getting inside your wife’s head

Published on August 19, 2010

It’s 11:15 pm. You’re lying next to your wife after a long day for both of you. You catch a whiff of her freshly washed hair and suddenly your mind jumps to how nice it would be to get her naked. You know she’s wearing those not-tonight flannel pajamas, but you slide your hand over her closer breast anyhow as you press your hips against her. She suddenly gets very still and quiet. You can almost feel her skin crawl as you try to caress her. She says, sounding somewhat annoyed, “Honey, I’m tired.” So you stop, shut down again. You wait till she falls asleep and masturbate, trying not to move the bed too much. It’s been two weeks and you can’t so much as touch your wife. What is up with that? Why can’t she just have sex with you – maybe even just a quickie – when you need it so much? 

You’re right. It’s not fair. But there is so much hope – your sex life doesn’t have to be this way! Here are some psychological insights and strategies for you as a capable and vital man to consider for improving your sex life with your wife or long-term lover. The more you can get inside the head of your wife, the better your sex life is going to be. For starters, here are some of the key reasons why she doesn’t want sex (for now!):

1. She is too tired. Women typically do about 7 times more housework and childcare than their husbands do even when they both have full-time jobs. Add to that the fact that women need more sleep than men do, and you have a recipe for her wanting sleep more than sex when both your heads hit the pillow.

2. She resents or is angry at you. In any romantic relationship, both men and women need about five times as many positive events than negative ones to say that they are satisfied with the relationship. The difference for women, however, is that they tend to ruminate over negative events more than do men. In other words, when bad things happen in a marriage, like when a husband tells his wife that she shouldn’t have dessert, she mentally ties that insult to its grander meanings like thinking that she married the wrong man. Because women ruminate more, wives are much more likely to come to bed resenting their husbands. And all the proper timing and sex tricks in the world are not going to make the sex good for an angry or resentful spouse.

3. She does not have the freedom to choose when and how much sex she will have. This stirs in her something called psychological reactance, which refers to the desire to restore a sense of freedom when it has been taken away. Back in the sixties, psychologists discovered that virtually everyone experiences reactance. It’s what happens when your neighbors tell you that you can’t paint your house red or let your dog run around without a leash. You immediately feel like telling them to go to hell to get a feeling of independence again. It’s the same for your wife — all your pressure for sex makes her push you away. But this situation can be turned around to the point of making her beg for it, as I will explain in my next post.

Now here are some of the key steps that you can consider doing for better sex with your wife (Remember, good sex leads to more good sex!):

Read More …  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight/201008/why-your-wife-hates-sex-and-what-you-can-do-about-it

Marriage Lowers Stress Hormones

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on August 18, 2010

Researchers have long asserted that marriage helps to improve an individual’s health. Now, a new study explains how a long-term relationship can foster health benefits.

University of Chicago professor and lead author Dario Maestripieri discovered unmarried people in a committed, romantic relationship show the same reduced responses to stress as do married people.

“These results suggest that single and unpaired individuals are more responsive to psychological stress than married individuals, a finding consistent with a growing body of evidence showing that marriage and social support can buffer against stress.”

His findings are published in the current issue of the journal Stress.

A team of researchers from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University studied 500 masters degree students. About 40 percent of the men and 53 percent of the women were married or in relationships.

The group included 348 men with a mean age of 29 and 153 women with a mean age of 27.

The students were asked to play a series of computer games that tested economic behaviors, and saliva samples were taken before and after to measure hormone levels and changes.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/08/19/marriage-lowers-stress-hormones/17027.html

24/7 Work Schedule Challenges Marriage

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on August 19, 2010

As our world grows in complexity and pace, taking care of business requires around the clock staffing.

David Maume, a University of Cincinnati professor of sociology, says working the late shift places new demands on men and women, affecting the family as well as the marriage.

“Although much research has examined the marital effects of women’s work, relatively few studies have focused on the effects of working late shifts on marital dynamics,” writes Maume.

“This study updates and extends the rather limited and dated research on the link between schedule diversity and marital quality.”

Overall, the study found that men felt that working the late shift negatively affected the quality of their marriages. However, the majority of women felt that rotating work schedules strained their marriages.

“When women work rotating schedules, they find it more difficult to get everything done at home and engage with family members, and it is this disruptive effect on family life which strains women’s marriages rather than the times they work,” explains Maume.

He adds that in that regard, the new study backs previous research that demonstrates that “to a greater degree than men, women’s work schedules disrupt their ability to care for and nurture other family members, and women’s marriages suffer as a result.”

“As the inter-relationship between work and family life becomes more complex in the face of changing expectations for gender roles, it is increasingly important that researchers understand how emergent 24/7 work schedules affect the well-being of workers and their families,” concludes Maume.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/08/20/247-work-schedule-challenges-marriage/17101.html

Study To Address How Women Decide To Have Casual Sex, Communicate With Partners And Their Feelings About Sexuality

Article Date: 15 Aug 2010 – 0:00 PDT

Discussing women’s sexuality is generally a social taboo, but UQ School of Psychology researcher Claire Moran is out to change the public’s perception, and give women more confidence in their sexual choices.

To complete her PhD research, Ms Moran is asking women who have had non-relationship sex, with three or more casual partners in the past 12 months, who wish to participate in her study to contact her at c.moran1@uq.edu.au.

Ms Moran’s rationale for the study is to gain an understanding of how women negotiate sexual safety and pleasure within casual sexual encounters.

“I believe if we can have a better understanding of these women’s sexuality, we can better promote their sexual health and emotional well being,” Ms Moran said.

The interviews follow her first study of women’s sexuality, which focused on representations of women’s sexuality in women’s lifestyle magazines.

In the magazine analysis, Ms Moran said she found women were almost always presented as being in a relationship, or looking for one, with the possibility that women might enjoy being single or having casual sex not being entertained.

“I was concerned with the message this was sending to women, that women need relationships and that sex should be on a man’s terms, while the lack of information on negotiating sexual safety was alarming,” Ms Moran said.

The current study will address how women decide to have casual sex, how women communicate with their partners and how they feel women’s sexuality is reflected in the media, Ms Moran said.

“The magazines suggest that all women are always looking for a relationship and use sex as a means to secure a relationship,” Ms Moran said.

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/197704.php

Looking for Love Can Shorten Life

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on August 10, 2010

Searching for a partner when the odds are against you may shorten your life, says a new Harvard study. To be precise, researchers believe that ratios between males and females affect human longevity.

Men who reach sexual maturity in a context in which they far outnumber women live, on average, three months less than men whose competition for a mate isn’t as difficult.

The steeper the gender ratio (also known as the operational sex ratio), the sharper the decline in lifespan.

“At first blush, a quarter of a year may not seem like much, but it is comparable to the effects of, say, taking a daily aspirin, or engaging in moderate exercise,” says Nicholas Christakis, senior author on the study and professor of medicine and medical sociology at Harvard Medical School.

“A 65-year-old man is typically expected to live another 15.4 years. Removing three months from this block of time is significant.”

These results are published in the August issue of the journal Demography.

An association between gender ratios and longevity had been established through studies of animals before, but never in humans.

To search for a link in people, Christakis collaborated with researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of Wisconsin and Northwestern University. The researchers looked at two distinct datasets.

First, they examined information from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, a long-term project involving individuals who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/08/10/looking-for-love-can-shorten-life/16633.html

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